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Berlin - Day 2: Berlin Zoo, Brandenburg Gate and The Holocaust Memorial

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Berlin Zoo

On our second day in Berlin, we headed to Berlin Zoo. Both Jason and I are massive animal lovers and were really excited about visiting the zoo. I think I'm right in saying it is the biggest one in Europe and trust me, it's HUGE. It took us roughly 4 hours to walk around it and by the end we were knackered! It was a particularly hot day and we are both completely out of shape and boy, did we feel it that day! 

When we arrived at the zoo gates, the queue was ridiculous. It literally stretched right down the road and we thought we could be waiting for ages, which we were still prepared to do none the less. Time wise, it probably took us about 30 minutes to get in. I would say though, if the queue was managed properly the time would have been halved. Annoyingly, people were leaving the main queue and walking straight to the front to make mini lines across the ticket booths. The problem was, there was no member of staff outside organising this chaos so it did feel pretty frustrating. Luckily, by the time we were near the front a member of staff finally came out and directed the visitors to the different queues, which made it a bit easier. Still, what a mess. 

Anyway, moaning aside, queueing was completely worth it. Honestly, it was the best zoo I have ever been to. Every animal that was there was utterly amazing, I think we spent the majority of the time completely in awe and we just couldn't get over how many animals they had there! They had everything... elephants, rhinos, polar bears... You name it, it was there somewhere. Most of the animals seemed to have plenty of space as well so it didn't seem cruel or squished in.

My favourite part had to be the petting/farm animal area. It was FULL of babies. I have never seen such tiny goats in my life. I wanted to pick them all up and take them home with me. 

Although the animals generally seemed happy, I did find the polar bear enclosure really sad. One of the polar bears was playing with a ball in the water, which was lovely. However, the other was pacing back and forth and looked so frustrated. There was SO many people surrounding the enclosure taking photos, shouting and waving and I just felt guilty being part of it. The other animal that I never like seeing in captivity is penguins. They had a tiny indoors enclosure with a pool which was maybe a couple of meters deep. On the wall they had a sign showing how deep certain sea animals could swim, and they had penguins as being able to swim to a depth of 500 meters. It's just didn't feel right seeing them in there. Hopefully they have these animals for conservation purposes, not just because they make for a good tourist attraction.

We bought a combi ticket for 20 euros, which meant we could also go into the aquarium. If I'm honest, I don't think it's worth paying extra for. It had some cool bits in it, lots of funky jelly fish and weird sea creatures but that was about it. I think there is a proper sea life centre in Berlin so if it's the aquarium your interested in, maybe just head there instead. 

Brandenburg Gate and The Holocaust Memorial

You can't go to Berlin without visiting a few key tourist hotspots. The area surrounding the Brandenburg Gate is a great place to walk around in general, there is beautiful architecture everywhere, cafes and bars and lots of things to see and do. Minutes from the station is the Brandenburg Gate. It is seriously impressive. The structure itself is huge and looked stunning in the evening sunlight. My crappy photo doesn't do it justice. 

Visiting the Holocaust memorial was on of the highlights of our trip. I recommend you go a little later in the day as we sat and watched the exhibition turn honey coloured and create shadows in the evening sunlight, which really demonstrated how impressive it is. Also, make sure you walk round to find the entrance of the free exhibition, which is underground. It includes personal letters, a timeline and pays respects to the families lost in the camps. 

Burning of the Books Memorial- Bebelplaz

A roughly 10 minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate, you can find a hidden memorial for the burning of the books. It is really discrete and you may just notice a few people gathered looking at the floor. It is not until you get close that you can see a glass panel with a whole room underneath and rows and rows of empty bookshelves. It took us a little while to hunt down but it was definitely worth seeing. Berlin has so much history I think it's important to make the most of the exhibitions and landmarks whilst you are there.

A seriously busy day! 

Will post the last day's adventures in a few days then will be back to the crafts :) Hope you've found the posts interesting or useful so far!

Much love,

Katie x

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