The Berlin Wall

So the 3rd part of my Berlin trip: The Wall.

As most people know, Berlin was divided into two parts- East Berlin and West Berlin. A wall separated the two parts of the cities between 1961 up until its fall in 1989.

To find out more information and learn about the history of the wall, go to Potsdamer Platz where there are information boards, as well as old parts of the wall on display.

Information boards giving a brief history lesson

Information boards giving a brief history lesson

Potsdamer Platz is just a small walk from the Brandenburg gate, so it is worth it!

Interestingly, all of the parts of the wall displayed here are covered from head to toe in chewing gum. I didn’t understand the significance and never found out why!

Berlin is well known for its graffiti and street art. I think it gives real character to the wall, and makes it more interesting for visitors!

Graffiti on the wall

Graffiti on the wall

An absolute must: visit the East Side Gallery. It is over a kilometre long, and has paintings on from many artists. Having started in 1990, there are now over 100 paintings on it.

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

There is a lot of graffiti on the wall, often covering up the paintings. It has ruined many paintings, but, as I mentioned before, does add to the character of the wall.

Take a look through the slideshow at some of the many paintings from the wall:

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The East side gallery is situated in the East of Berlin, on the Warshauer Straße metro stop (u-bahn and s-bahn). It is situated along the river, with lots of cool bars. So make the most of it if you head over there! The Oberbaum bridge is also right next to it, to conveniently fit in another Berlin landmark!

Oberbaum Bridge

Oberbaum Bridge

Oberbaum Bridge

Oberbaum Bridge River View

And if you can spare a little bit more time, particularly in the summer, Badeschiff Arena is a great concept- incorporating a beach, bar, pool and club all in one place. It is a short walk from the East Side Gallery, and well worth it!

Badeschiff Arena

Badeschiff Arena

That just about caps off Berlin- a truly magnificent city!

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Avignon

Things to do: 

  • Walk around and on the old city walls
  • Visit the Palais des Papes
  • Have a coffee on one of the terraces 
  • Walk on the Pont Avignon
  • Visit the many beautiful parks and gardens

 

Avignon is situated in the Provence region in the south of France. It is easily accessible from Southern cities like Marseille and Montpellier, and via the North by TGV.

Map of France

Map of France

Avignon is genuinely one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. As soon as you leave the train station, you are confronted by the old city walls, which are not ruins, but have been magnificently restored. Entering the city, you are given the impression of a very small typical French town. There was the sweet smell of the freshly baked baguettes from the boulangeries, as well as an old man playing his accordion under the burning sun. It was a hot August day and the temperature reached 36c!

The office de tourisme is conveniently located in between the train station (that is Avignon centre, Avignon TGV is situated about 6km away) and the main city centre. Staff were friendly, providing maps and offering advice. It also gave us the opportunity to eat lunch in what was one of many beautiful gardens.

Place Agricol Perdiguier

Place Agricol Perdiguier

After this, to head to the main town centre, continue up Rue de la République until you reach Place d’Horloge, a large square with many restaurants and bars. Although many can be very expensive, no doubt aimed at tourists, there are many other streets off of here that are cheaper and offer more traditional French food. The square also contains the city hall, and like most city halls in France, it lived up to the grandeur that I have begun to expect!

Hôtel de Ville

Hôtel de Ville

Continuing down the road, and you soon reach the Place du Palais, featuring the incredible Palais des Papes. Before going to Avignon, it is important to know a little history about the city itself. In the 14th century, it was home to several popes, having moved the Papacy from Rome to Avignon. The Palais des Papes was built during this time, and is now a museum.

Palais des Papes

Palais des Papes

Reduced price for entry to the museum plus the Pont d’Avignon was 11€ and is available for students, children and people aged 65+. Normal entry is just a couple of euros extra. It is well worth it, as the museum is huge. There is also the option of getting an audio guide, and there is a place to leave luggage.

The museum is massive, and it took us about an hour and a half to walk around the entire thing.

A courtyard inside the Palais des Papes

A courtyard inside the Palais des Papes

There are various things to see, including the old Pope’s bedroom, with some incredibly old art murals.

Sculptures of the former Popes

Sculptures of the former Popes

There is also lots of modern day art, situated throughout the museum.

Modern Art

Modern Art

One of the things that I personally enjoyed most about the Palais des Papes were the views that it offered over the city of Avignon and beyond. Get up there and have a look. There is a café at the top to reward you for all those stairs that you have climbed!

Tip: Make sure you visit all of the rooms in the museum, there are many hidden away and you may easily miss something!

Just next to the Palais des Papes is a beautiful church- Notre Dame des Doms. Whilst rather small inside, it is well worth a look to see the mosaics and the small chapels.

Notre Dame des Doms

Notre Dame des Doms

Leaving the church, we passed by the gardens just to the right of it. They really were beautiful, and provided the perfect scenery for the summers day.

Les Jardins

Les Jardins

It is well worth going into the gardens to have a look, or even better, for a little picnic in the shade. The views of the Provence region are incredible. Beyond the river Rhône, you will see vineyards, castles, and the mountains. It is a very picturesque view. You will also see an overview of Pont d’Avignon from there.

The views from the gardens

The views from the gardens

Of course, you cannot come to Avignon without walking on the Pont d’Avignon. There is a small room that tells you a little bit about the history of the bridge, and of course a history of the song.

Pont d'Avignon

Pont d’Avignon

I only had a short time to spend in Avignon, but the city was very easy to view in 5 hours, without being too time-pressured. Although we saw the main things, there are also many other museums to see, and no doubt more beautiful scenery to explore!