Berlin: Day 3

Berliner Tagebuch: Freitag 9 Juni 2023 / Berlin Diary: Friday 9 June 2023



There is a general realisation that in any skiing trip, the third day is the hardest. I am wondering if this also applies to any short holiday. The spanner in the works today was a visit to the Reichstag at 4.15 pm, which had no in-built flexibility whatsoever. Whilst I understood the rigidity of the arrangements, I did not appreciate it. It was hard to hang around waiting for something to happen, as I will explain later.

Before you read on, please see here for details of the transport and museum passes we used for this Berlin trip. All information correct as of June 2023.


Frühstück und Morgenaktivität / Breakfast and Morning Activity

It was my birthday so I had some cake for breakfast at The Barn’s other location on the north side of Potsdamer Platz (Bellevuestraße 1, 10785 Berlin) near the Sony Centre. Compared to yesterday’s location, this was calmer with no building works.


Looking up at the unique open roof of the Sony Centre in Potsdamer Platz


No croissants, but carrot cake and green tea made a good start to the day



This morning we revisited the Kulturforum complex, to spend a little time in the Kunstgewerbemuseum. This is one of the less featured museums but I found it very interesting, and a bit like the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

On the lower ground floor there are some rare hand-crafted objects. The Cupola Reliquary is part of the Guelph Treasure. Reliquaries held reminders of long-dead saints, and were meant to inspire awe from those who would feel closer to their saints. Today, our awe comes from knowing that the Guelph collection in the museum is valued at around €250 million.


The Cupola (Dome) Reliquary


The other significant collection on the lower ground floor is the Lüneburger Ratssilber / Lüneburg Council Silver. These pieces were made between the middle of the 15th and the beginning of the 17th century, and financed from money made through the town’s salt production. At that time salt was a vital ingredient for preserving herring caught in the Baltic Sea and the waters around Norway. During religious periods of fasting meat was not permitted, so pickled or salted fish was the only ‘meat’ available in inland areas.


A display case featuring some pieces from the Lüneburg Council Silver



Besides other decorative arts e.g. glasswork and cabinetry, the museum has an extensive collection of fashion clothing and accessories from the 18th to 20th centuries. There are many fine examples but I only really looked at the shoes.


Shoes made by Ferragamo, from the 1940s and 1950s


From past to present: after seeing so many historic domestic and fashion items at the museum I went to Galeries Lafayette to see its modern equivalent. As you can imagine, shopping at this French department store is very pleasurable, with many brands under its wing. In the household department, I especially liked looking at the colourful tea towels from Garnier-Thiebaut.

On a mission to look for one thing only i.e. pepper mills for my friend Shoe Lady, I discovered a whole new universe of pepper mills. On the three display units were (counting front and back) 30 shelves of every conceivable shape, size, material and colour of pepper mill you could ever want. This was pepper mill heaven. All the mills come from Peugeot, and I was surprised to learn that the company made hand tools, kitchen equipment and bicycles before they even thought of making cars.



Mittagessen / Lunch

Bocca di Bacco (literally, Bacchus’ mouth): despite an address in Friedrichstraße, near to Galeries Lafayette and Gendarmenmarkt, I found the restaurant refreshingly unstuffy and welcoming. One of my pet fears when dining out in a foreign city is not being considered a proper paying customer, rather a tourist they might never see again and treat disdainfully. In fact, we had very good food and service throughout our Berlin trip.


A very satisfying lunch, from the bread basket to the Alessi salt and pepper table set which we also use at our home


Nachmittagsaktivität/ Afternoon Activity

There was enough time to visit another museum at the Museumsinsel / Museum Island before heading to the Reichstag. The Alte Nationalgalerie houses sculptures as well as paintings, and they are all significant. By now my head was a bit tired of thinking about how valuable these pieces of art were.


The entrance to the Alte Nationalgalerie


Besides the Pergamon Museum, the other visit that has to be booked in advance is a visit to the dome of the Reichstag Building. There are extensive views from the top and for most people that would suffice, but I also think it is worth reflecting on Germany’s tumultuous political history and how democracy is an ideal worth fighting for and preserving.


Dome of the Reichstag Building


Looking up at the dome


One of the many views from the top


I hate being late for anything. Before the strict appointment at the Reichstag, there was some time to fill and we visited first the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and then the Brandenburg Gate. This did not take long. What could we do to use up some spare time? Pariser Platz, the square in front of the Gate, was busy and noisy with tourists. The Tiergarten Park behind the Gate was just a vast and dry space with no seating. This created a perfect storm with frustration and weariness setting in to turn me into a monster.

It’s not that I would not do this again. If I were to visit with someone else, I would be smarter and plant myself at the Hotel Adlon whilst waiting. My advice would be to plan the Reichstag visit as your first activity of the day. The entry and security arrangements are so rigid you would otherwise be hanging around or running so as to not miss your slot.


Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe


The Brandenburg Gate


Abendessen / Dinner

Katz Orange has one dish every non-vegetarian should try, which is called Candy on Bone. This is either lamb or pork slow-roasted at a low temperature for 12 hours. Served in a miniature Staub roasting dish, the small hunk of meat belies how filling it is. Second helpings are offered if you are still hungry, and I think some teenagers or young adults would happily entertain this challenge.



Let’s learn some German words!

Some German words appear to be very long. It would be easier to comprehend if the compound words were split into its component parts, with a space in between. Unless I move to Berlin (that would be quite fun for a month or two) I don’t think I would have the capacity to learn German, but here is a mini list of some long words I found interesting during my day.

Alles / everything
Gute / good
zum / for the (your)
Geburtstag / birthday
Alles Gute zum Geburtstag = Happy Birthday

Kunst / art
Gewerbe / business
Kunstgewerbemuseum = Arts and Crafts Museum or Museum of Decorative Arts

Ersatz / substitute
Haltestelle / bus stop
Ersatzhaltestelle = replacement bus stop

Ersatzverkehr / replacement traffic
Richtung / direction
Ersatzverkehr Richtung Ruhleben = Replacement service towards Ruhleben



After living for such a long time in England, the best birthday present I can ask for is a sunny day and this is what I had the entire day


Berlin: Day 2

Berliner Tagebuch: Donnerstag 8 Juni 2023 / Berlin Diary: Thursday 8 June 2023



The first of three days visiting some of Berlin’s renowned museums. We’re still getting to grips with the extensive transport system, but managed to get to all the places on our list. Before you read on, please see here for details of the transport and museum passes we used for this Berlin trip. All information correct as of June 2023.


Frühstück und Morgenaktivität / Breakfast and Morning Activity

The Barn Coffee Roasters, Alte Potsdamer Str. 5, Berlin 10785. Great coffee and croissant but the entire area, like many parts of Berlin, is a large building site. There is another branch on the opposite side of the road (see next post). The Playce shopping mall is close by, which has a few shops, a supermarket and a surprisingly large gelato shop. This was shut so I added it to another day’s list.

This morning we visited two of the museums within the Kulturforum complex, which is located near to Potsdamer Platz: first, the Neue Nationalgallerie, followed by the Gemäldegalerie. We saved the Kunstgewerbemuseum for another day.

Top Tips: 1) get a museum pass and try to pre-book at least the first museum visit of the day, as there is always a queue to get in at opening time. 2) Rucksacks and larger handbags are not allowed in the galleries and museums. Some places have manned left-luggage counters. For the others, you need a one euro / two euro coin to use the garderobe/ locker.

The Neue Nationalgallerie’s museum building and sculpture gardens were designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. I should have taken a photo of the entrance lobby, which is filled with a row of instantly recognisable Barcelona Chairs. Photos below are from Gerhard Richter: 100 Works for Berlin, one of its current exhibitions.


The Sculpture Garden


Where have I seen this before? 4900 Colours (excerpt) reminded me of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant


Strip, 2013 / 2016 reminded me of British designer Paul Smith. If the lines were zig-zagged I would have thought of Italy’s Missoni


One of Mr Richter’s large abstracts: do you see Monet’s water lily pond in this somewhere?


From modern to traditional: our next stop was to the Gemäldegalerie to view its hefty collection of 13th to 18th century European paintings. There are many masterpieces to behold and, unlike London’s National Gallery, it is not crowded and you get to view each painting properly. However there is an entrance charge, which is largely negligible if you make good use of the Museum Pass Berlin.



Walking round the gallery’s many rooms, I had to remind myself that in the days before the invention of photography and film (and now, social media), most people could not see first-hand what famous people, distant places and popular cultural items looked like. Myths, legends and religious texts were brought to life as large drawings. Even foods and flowers were represented in this medium.


Still life paintings of lobsters, one of my favourite foods


In the same culture complex: Berliner Philharmonie, home to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (top) and a rear view of St. Matthäus-Kirche (bottom)


Mittagessen / Lunch

Chipperfield Kantine is the workplace canteen for David Chipperfield Architects. It was not exactly near to the museums we wanted to visit, but it does serve a daily vegetarian lunch. One thing I worried over was my daily fibre intake, and I was not keen on eating street food or pork knuckle and sauerkraut.



After lunch, we had coffee/ tea and cake nearby. I was actually looking for Black Apron Cakes and read that their cakes can now be found at CODOS coffeeshop. Their two branches in Berlin are at: Rosenthaler Straße 1, Berlin 10119 and at Invalidenstraße 1, Berlin 10115. Since there are many cakes to choose from, plus pastries and cooked egg dishes, anytime is a good time to visit CODOS.


Orange and almond cake by Black Apron


On the wall of CODOS Coffee. Wondering whether this is the average feeling of Berliners towards their city. Even on a very bad day I wouldn’t want to say ‘I Hate You’ to my adopted city of London


Nachmittagsaktivität / Afternoon Activity

A visit to the main museum on Museumsinsel / Museum Island. The Pergamonmuseum is what every guidebook says is the museum to visit in Berlin. Some say it is the equivalent of the British Museum in London. I would say that they are both unique in their own way, each presenting ancient cultures through the artefacts they have acquired.


I am slightly ashamed at my lack of ambition and creativity: granite to me means one thing only i.e. kitchen worktops


Currently, the museum’s Pergamon Altar and some other parts are closed to the public, but there is still plenty to see.


Reconstructions of Ancient Babylon’s Processional Way and the Ishtar Gate of Nebuchadnezzar II. The brick fragments were transported in 500 crates which had to be pieced together to remake individual panels


Market Gate of Miletus


One of the star pieces in the museum: the Berlin Gold Hat


Abendessen / Dinner

Osmans Töchter is a modern Turkish restaurant run by Osman’s daughters. Like Night Kitchen (see previous post), the advice is to reserve a table ahead of time. We enjoyed every dish we ordered and ate very well. After dinner we walked to the ice cream shop, because there is always space for ice cream.


Tribeca Ice Cream (vegan), Rykestraße 40, Berlin 10405


There was a little time and sunlight left to catch the tram to Alexanderplatz before heading back to our hotel


Let’s learn some German words!

It is sometimes possible to guess the English equivalent of German words. Here is a mini list of some words I found interesting during my day.

Leben / life
Stillleben mit Hummer und Früchten = Still Life with Lobster and Fruit (the first lobster painting above, by Frans Snyders)
Stillleben mit Früchten und Hummer = Still Life with Fruit and Lobster (the second lobster painting above, by Jan Davidsz de Heem)

Berliner Philharmoniker = Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Kirche / church
St. Matthäus / St Matthew
St. Markus / St Mark
St. Lukas / St Luke
St. Johannes / St John

Gemälde / paintings
Galerie / gallery
Gemäldegalerie = picture gallery

Töchter / daughters

Finally, a bonus note because I love lobsters. Homaridae is the scientific family name for lobsters. In German lobster = hummer, and in French lobster = homard. According to my Chamber’s Dictionary, the English word lobster comes from the Anglo-Saxon word loppestre, related to Latin locusta / locust. You don’t need to remember any of this etymology, just the different words for lobster in any given language.


Berlin: The First Day

Berliner Tagebuch: Mittwoch 7 Juni 2023 / Berlin Diary: Wednesday 7 June 2023

From a song by Johnny Nash, which I used to listen on the radio when growing up in Kuala Lumpur:

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Weather forecast on the day we left for Berlin: so happy to leave the recent rain in London behind us

When I was in Primary School one of the things that made me most happy was my box of Colleen colour pencils, on account of the description of the colours. There was sunshine yellow, leaf green and khaki brown. Red was never just red but magenta and vermillion. Blues were ultramarine, cobalt blue and Prussian Blue.

What was Prussia? I never gave it much thought until I read that Berlin was made the royal capital of Prussia in 1701. There is so much history behind the making of modern day Germany, but I will leave that for another time. For this first trip, I thought it would be best to concentrate on Berlin’s more recent past.

We walked and ate a lot over the five days we were in Berlin. I had to think long and hard on how to write up the notes and settled on following our daily structure. This was broken up into five distinct parts: breakfast, morning activity, lunch, afternoon activity, dinner.

Before you read on, please see here for some help on preparing for a Berlin trip. All information correct as of June 2023.

Frühstück und Morgenaktivität / Breakfast and Morning Activity

We flew British Airways and had use of their lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. BA’s lounge food is normally just so-so but their breakfasts redeem their reputation somewhat. There is a full English buffet breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and hash browns. Plus cereal, croissants and all the champagne you care to imbibe.

Top tip: travelling with cabin-sized trolley bags was ideal. There was no waiting for luggage in Berlin and we could take a train to our hotel. Since there are steps and escalators to negotiate in the airport and train stations, it’s not so easy with a large bag. I have never packed so lightly before and was quite impressed I could do this at my age.

If you are looking for cabin luggage, I came across July which has lightweight cabin cases. People half my age, with twice the upper body strength, might prefer a rolltop rucksack from Got Bag which is all the rage in Berlin.

Views of the approach into Berlin by air, with a mixture of commercial, green and housing areas

Mittagessen / Lunch

There is a sizeable Vietnamese community in Berlin, and Monsieur Vuong,Alte Schönhauser Str. 46 10119 Berlin, is credited as being the first major Vietnamese restaurant to offer Pho in this city. The menu is via a QR code and as we were sat in a quiet but dark corner, it really was difficult to read the menu on our phones. The Pho was very good. The bowl of bird’s eye chillies that accompanied the noodles was a generous help-yourself-if-you-dare challenge.

There are many restaurants and shops in the vicinity, which is ideal for a walkabout. I love tea and I love ice cream. Imagine my happiness when I found the following two shops nearby.

Paper and Tea, Alte Schönhauser Str. 50, 10119 Berlin, where I bought some green teas

This is an apt description of me and Mr Gochugaru

Cuore di Vetro, Max-Beer-Str. 33, 10119 Berlin, has many unusual gelato flavours

Siebensachen, Max-Beer-Str. 25, 10119 Berlin, is a small shop with unique hand made objects. I am thinking hard for a reason why I might need one of their musical boxes

We had coffee at Father Carpenter, Münzstr. 21, 10178 Berlin, which is set in a lovely courtyard. Next time I would like to try their banana bread

Sometime I come across things that make make me feel a bit sad, like this framed poem in Father Carpenter. My father loved the English Romantic poets and would often recite this poem to whoever happened to be around at the time. Keats House in Hampstead (London) is just up the road from where I live, but I cannot remember if Dad and I ever visited together.

Nachmittagsaktivität / Afternoon Activity

First views of Berliner Fernsehturm / Berlin TV Tower, taken from the Rotes Rathaus / Town Hall

A first look at Nikolaiviertal / Nikolai Quarter, which we would explore over the weekend: the facade of Nikolaikirche / Nikolai Church and a quaint water pump which still works

Abendessen / Dinner

Night Kitchen

As with most popular Berlin restaurants, it is inadvisable to turn up without a prior reservation. The food is superb, the service is lovely and they come round with complimentary alcohol shots during the meal. The lighting inside is very low so photography is difficult. There are tables outside but I had booked way ahead, and did not want the risk of sitting in the cold or in rain.

Make sure you have the Challah Bread (the only photo I have of the food)

This antique coal-heated iron displayed in the restaurant reminded me of my mother, as she has a few old irons like this

The surrounding streets are lovely for a pre or post-dinner wander. Just round the corner stands the New Synagogue Berlin

Let’s learn some German words!

Some German words appear to be very long. It would be easier to comprehend if the compound words were split into its component parts, with a space in between. Unless I move to Berlin (that would be quite fun for a month or two) I don’t think I would have the capacity to learn German, but here is a mini list of some long words I found interesting during my day.

Daten / data
Schutz / protection
Einstellungen / settings
Datenschutzeinstellungen = privacy setting (seen on every website I searched)

Fernsehen / television
Turm / tower
Fernsehenturm = TV Tower

Tag / day
Buch / book
Tagebuch = diary

Früh / early
Stück / piece
Frühstück = breakfast

Morgen / morning
Aktivität / activity
Morgenaktivität = morning activity

Nach / after
Mittag / midday
Nachmittag = afternoon

Abend / evening
Essen / food
Abendessen = dinner

Abfahrt / departure
Zeit / time
Abfahrtszeit = time of departure (there is an optional ‘s’ in between the two words)

Ankunft / arrival
Zeit / time
Ankunftszeit = time of arrival (there is an optional ‘s’ in between the two words)

Part of our train journey to our hotel, with some clues in the second part of the place names.
Allee = avenue, dorf = village, hof = court, wald = forest, strasse = street, bahnhof = railway station, brücke = bridge, platz = place

Date, Banana and Tahini Bundt


I have just finished watching the latest series of Masterchef UK and am in full admiration of the competitors and their ambition. Most would like to own and run at least one restaurant, and to achieve Michelin star status. Me? I am happy to get to the end of the day with something decent on the table.

This is why I love baking. It is so, so simple to bring together a few ingredient and have something to show for it an hour later. Recently I have been baking my cakes in Bundt pans and re-working a few older recipes. I am trying out spelt flour in my cake baking for a change, instead of using regular wheat flour. In line with the doctor’s advice, I have also reduced the sugar by 20%.

Today’s cake includes dates, banana and tahini. The original recipe (made in a square tin) is here, which has notes on which type of tahini to use. Make sure you stick a long metal spoon into the tahini before first using, to scrape up the solid paste which has settled at the bottom of the jar. Stir this solid paste into the more liquid paste on top.


For today’s cake I used a Lebanese tahini


Simple but naturally sweet additions of crushed bananas and chopped dates lessen the need for too much sugar in the cake


I used a 6 Cup Anniversary Bundt Pan and prepared it with butter, sesame seeds and flour, to prevent the cake from sticking



For the Cake:

2 large eggs

80 g light or dark brown soft sugar

100 g sunflower oil

175 g wholegrain or white spelt flour (I used a 125 g wholegrain/ 50 g white mixture)

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

150 g pitted Medjool dates, cut into small pieces

200 g ripe bananas, broken into pieces and lightly crushed

50 g tahini (preferably Middle Eastern tahini)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

10 g each softened butter and plain flour to line the Bundt pan

2 – 3 teaspoons untoasted white sesame seeds


You will need a 6 Cup Anniversary Bundt Pan. The cake can also be made in a 2 pound / 900 g loaf tin or a 20 x 20 cm square tin.


How to Make:

Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan.

Brush the softened butter evenly over the entire inside of the pan, taking care to fill every corner. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds, which will stick to the butter.

Sift over the flour, moving the pan around to coat evenly. Remove the excess flour by turning the pan upside down and giving it a tap (do this over a sink). Set the pan aside.

Sift the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together into a large bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy. Whisk in the oil slowly.

Add the flour mixture and, using a silicon spatula, gently fold into the whisked egg mixture.

Add in the dates, banana, tahini and vanilla extract. Gently fold everything together until well mixed.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

Level the surface and tap the pan on a folded dishcloth to settle any bubbles.

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until the cake bounces back when touched. A metal skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.

Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

The cake will slice into eight thin and eight thicker pieces – perfect for a sharing with friends, and perfect for picnics.



Millers of spelt flour in the UK: Doves Farm and Shipton Mill. I use their flours regularly and highly recommend them.



A Berlin Primer


I have been thinking a lot about our forthcoming four-day trip to Berlin. We are squeezing this in between visits from overseas friends, and regular work and family commitments. From the reading I have done there is so much, maybe too much, to see and do in Germany’s capital. I naturally made a spreadsheet (thinking of you, LSE Boy) to help split the days into manageable chunks, with sit down dinners at the end of the day.

I am still figuring out whether to try Berlin’s famous Currywurst because I am not keen on street food and sauces dripping down onto my clothes. My back up plan, if I miss this, is to have it at German Gymnasium back in London.

There are various transport and sightseeing discount cards, and this is an excellent article explaining the differences between the Berlin Welcome Card and the EasyCityPass Berlin. We are using the former for our trip (only for the transport element).

The only timed tickets we needed to book ahead were to the Reichstag, home to the Bundestag (German Parliament).

This is a summary of the resources I used. I want a holiday with plenty of history, walking and eating, and thought I should make a list for any future trip, as well as a go-to guide when I am in Berlin itself.


Useful tourist information websites:

German National Tourist Board

Visit Berlin

Citymapper Berlin to get you from A to B by public transport

Original Berlin Walks

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums). Berlin’s national museums are closed on Mondays. Every first Sunday of the month is Museum Sunday in Berlin, and most museums have free admission then. I found a museum that had free entry on Thursday afternoons courtesy of a corporate sponsor, so do look out for such information on individual museum websites. Some of the exhibits and rooms might be closed for restoration work, and it’s best to take a chilled attitude to this.

We cannot see every museum and have decided to limit ourselves to the ones covered by the Museum Pass Berlin. Download and print the list here before you travel, as it has opening times and transport information. At-a-glance list of the 30 museums covered.

I am big fan of Rick Steves and here is his suggested itinerary of Berlin.

The Michelin food guide currently lists 80 recommendations in Berlin. How many days do you have?

For young people i.e. those under 30 years of age, Gina Goes To is right up your street. I am using the list in Gina’s Berlin City Guide for breakfast and cafe recommendations.


Guidebooks I used to plan this trip:

If you live in London, Stanfords in Covent Garden specialises in maps and travel books. Otherwise, their website lists a wide selection of books and maps for any country you can think of.

500 Hidden Secrets of Berlin by Nathalie Dewalhens, published by Luster, ISBN 978 9460583087

Rick Steve’s Berlin by Rick Steves, published by Avalon Travel, ISBN 978 1641714754

DK Eyewitness Berlin, published by Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 978 0241612712



Maps, which came before Apps:

Everyman Mapguides Berlin, published by Everyman Citymap Guides, ISBN 978-1841595696. I have several maps from this series as they are easy to fold out page-by-page and mark with the places you want to visit.

comfort! map Berlin Map, published by ExpressMap, ISBN 978-8380464117. Useful because of the laminated finish and the line showing the demarcation between (the previous) East and West Berlin.



A personal reading list to enhance your visit to Berlin and to engage with some aspects of Germany in World War II (in order of publication date):

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré, published in 1963 and still available in various formats.

Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel by James B. Donovan, published in 1964 and still available in various formats.

Munich and Fatherland by Robert Harris.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is out of print but used copies are available. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it covered topics I could engage with: world recession, rowing, education, dedication to a craft, family ties and how to overcome poverty with determination and vision.



A selected list of films set in Berlin or on aspects of Germany in World War II, some based on the books above (in chronological order of the the time it is set in):

Munich – The Edge of War

Never Look Away is inspired by the life of contemporary German artist Gerhard Richter, whose exhibition of 100 works is in Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie until 2026.

Schindler’s List

The Bridge of Spies

The Lives of Others

Good Bye, Lenin!


Selected reading on the Protestant Reformation:

Wittenberg lies 88 kms south of Berlin, about 45 minutes by direct train from Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof (Central Station). Officially known as Lutherstadt Wittenberg to mark its association with Martin Luther, this is where the Protestant Reformation began in 1517.

Each year the town hosts two Luther-themed festivals: Reformation Day on October 31 and Luther’s Wedding. The latter is held on the second weekend in June, when we will be in Berlin. We may not have time for a side trip and if we do, it should be to Potsdam, where the Potsdam Conference of 1945 was held. The background reading to the Reformation is very interesting because it effectively split Christian religious practices in Europe into Protestant North and Catholic South.

The Unquenchable Flame: Introducing the Reformation by Michael Reeves, published by Inter-Varsity Press, ISBN 978 1 84474 3858

Rick Steve’s Berlin (see above) has a very readable section on Luther, Wittenberg and the Reformation (pages 348 – 373)

A History of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch has a scholarly chapter on Luther, the Reformation and Reformed Reformation (sometimes called Calvinism). Published by Allen Lane, ISBN 978 0713 998696 (chapter 17, A House Divided, pages 604 – 654).


Mind your Language:

Finally, a German phrase book to learn some basic words. However I really am glad that English is widely spoken in Berlin. Most of the websites have pages in English. DK Eyewitness German Phrase Book, published by Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 978 0241289372. I have mainly been reading the Menu section so far…