I've been a Berliner

Berlin tourism has risen exponentially since razing of the city's iconic wall.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 4th July 2016, 2:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:36 pm
Siegessule Victory Column
Siegessule Victory Column

More than 12 million guests last year thought it a capital idea to visit Germany's most popular destination.

Yet much of that increased footfall inextricably follows well-worn routes around winding 167.8 kilometre border barrier that split a generation of family and friends.

Chris and trip organiser Charlotte Dimond, of Sidekick PR Ltd, enjoy wall cycle break with press colleagues

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There's no better way to celebrate at close quarters how the common man eventually overcame such a divisive divide than by cycle.

Berlin On Bike offers just such a service, offering en route uplifting light relief of beach bars amid poignantly thought-provoking memorials to those, to this day unconfirmed, 136 to 209 "Heroes" who lost their lives to win democracy.

And satisfyingly serves up this gastronomic melting pot's wurst kept secret of pork sausage curried ketchup creation invented here. As was grilled meat, salad and flat bread combo late night revelers everywhere relish as doner kebab.

Similar original recipe for success is accompanying Hefeweizen beer and grapefruit juice mix that is Schofferhofer. Somewhat easier to sup than to say.

Chris and trip organiser Charlotte Dimond, of Sidekick PR Ltd, enjoy wall cycle break with press colleagues

Wunder-bars include Clärchen’s Ballhaus, an institution for over 100 years complete with courtyard, Strandbar Mitte beach-feel pizza palace featuring al fresco dance floor, Prater Garten and Pfefferbräu beer gardens, latter boasting local cuisine as well as home brew, and Fleischerei, where it's all about meat.

Local delicacies include specialty schnitzel, meat-eater's manna from heaven in form of breaded tenderised veal. And jelly doughnut Berliner, not to be confused, as visiting USA president JFK did, with insulting natives.

Such unique tastes act as culinary metaphor for a dozen districts whose nuanced architecture, culture and communities are equally eye-opening, diverse and disparate.

The Weinmeister Hotel, best described as boho chic meets hip hop cool, is an alluring base ideally located in the midst of beating heart that is Mitte borough.

Walls and doors adorned with garish graffiti, the "Golden Cage" boasts 84 rooms with larger than life furniture that makes businessmen look like Borrowers.

VisitBerlin is perfect source for guides, many "Berlingual" with impressive command of English language, through streets of stark, striking contrasts.

And supplier of best-selling Berlin WelcomeCard, offering free travel and discounts with 200 tourism partners.

The transport passport is worth cover price alone for free entry to Museum Island's unparalleled artifacts, spanning several millennia, while boat voucher affords wonderful water-borne way to see Spree-side landmarks.

Highlights include fine dining at Restaurant Käfer atop Reichstag parliament buildings. Be sure to take ID amid airport-style security. And a healthy appetite.

Panoramapunkt offers similarly eye in the sky aerial overview of breath-taking cityscape via Europe's fastest lift that will take you, if not your stomach, to towering 24th floor in 20 swift seconds,

Unofficial old town Hackescher Markt offers a relaxing diversion from haunting history, epitomised in massive Holocaust memorial, in which you can tellingly disappear while solemnly considering six million lost Jews.

Nearby Führerbunker, subterranean complex air-raid shelter scene of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun's wedding then suicide, stands as another poignant reminder of tragic past that can never be forgotten to safeguard our future.

Newly opened The Gate sees high tech surround sight and sound meet illustrious heritage to animatedly illustrate 300 years of Brandenburg history.

Music meanwhile is soundtracked across an area whose landmark gate shares same name as Bach's baroque concertos while acting as inspiration for rock rebels David Bowie (seen performing emotional highlight of his '87 open air gig there) and Iggy Pop's arguably most creative periods.

Similarly stimulated and captivated, this impressed visitor is pleased to confirm, with apologies to doughnuts everywhere, Ich bin ein Berliner.

How to get there

Top flight Doncaster Sheffield Airport recently launched Berlin among eight new routes.

Flybe became largest low-fares airline to operate from 'Robin Hood' with 44 weekly departures and approaching half a million more seats within first year.

Berlin services - along with Paris, Amsterdam, Jersey, Newquay, Malaga, Alicante and Faro routes - can be booked at www.flybe.com with taxes and charges included one-way fares from £29.99.

Now, not only is the easily accessible terminal served by fast-track link road, but boasts user-friendly meet and greet parking as well as newly unveiled Premium Lounge services.

Comfort is key in a VIP environment where complimentary hot, soft and alcoholic drinks plus range of hot and cold snacks and unlimited super-fast WiFi are available by booking at www.robinhoodairport.com/at-the-airport/premium-lounge site.