Where We Ran - Berlin Business Trip
Last week I had to go to Berlin on a business trip. I had never been before and was so excited to visit a city I had heard so much about. However it turns out that when work sends you somewhere, you actually have to work...I KNOW RIGHT?! The agenda was packed leaving me with very little time to explore.
Luckily, I packed my running shoes. And even more luckily, I was able to connect with an old travel buddy who was down to run with me at the crack of dawn and show me some sites.
We did a route which was just under 6 miles in the city centre and was a perfect mix of lovely green space and some iconic city sights. Definitely worth checking out!
Where We Ran
In the city centre there is a beautiful green park just waiting for your running shoes to hit the ground. The Tiergarten (deer-park), a former royal hunting grounds, forms a varied greenland in the heart of the city, and touches on scenic buildings on every side: Bellevue Palace (German President's residence), the Congress Hall, the Kanzleramt (Chancellor's Office), Bundestag, Brandenburg Gate, Soviet War Memorial, Potsdamer Platz, the zoo, etc. And standing in the middle of the park is the impressive Siegessäule (victory column), a golden statue of winged-victory atop a column.
We started at the west end of the Tiergarten Park, at Breitscheidplatz. Before the reunification of Germany, when Berlin was still divided by a wall, the Tiergarten belonged to the western part of the city. The Berlin Wall ran right along the east edge of the park, separating it with the traditional center of town in East Berlin.
From the starting point, turn westwards and ran past the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Then turn right and ran north across Budapester Straße towards the Zoo Palast cinema, turn left and on to the plaza straight ahead.
Turn right at the plaza and ran past the side entrance to the city zoo until you hit the canal at the back end of the zoo, cross the two footbridges over the island to the other side to see boat locks here and some pretty cool looking houseboats.
Turn right on the other side of the canal and followed the path along the north bank.
At the next bridge, at Lichtensteinallee, turn left and follow this path into the park, with a little lake and the Spanish embassy on the right side.
Keep running straight and you'll hit the Siegessäule victory monument, with the golden angel on top. The Prussians built the column to celebrate their victories in wars with their neighbors, the Danes, the Austrians and the French. Fun fact: Barrack Obama held a speech at this spot.
To keep running in the park, turn left to follow the circle around the column past some lonely-looking statues of Prussian generals, then turn left to continue running in the same direction again, along Spreeweg.
Run by the presidential compound buildings, then by Bellevue Palace. When you come to the Spree River, turn right to run eastwards along the riverside next to John-Foster-Dulles-Allee, with the park on the right.
Follow the street as it curves to the right, away from the river. It will then pass the Congress Hall on the left (called the "Pregnant Oyster" by locals). The building was a gift of the American people to the people of West Berlin back in the darkest cold-war days, but later the roof collapsed, and needed to be rebuilt.
Continue following Dulles-Allee eastwards and you will come out into the large open square in front of the Bundestag building, the German parliament. Run straight across the square towards the front steps of the building. The Chancellor's office is to the left, behind you.
After you've taken in the front facade, turn right and run around the building to continue running southwards until you hit the Brandenburg Gate. Historically the Berlin Wall followed this stretch. There was a sign standing here saying "You are now leaving the American Sector".
It is worth running through the gate to see Unter den Linden, Berlin's most famous boulevard stretching eastwards ahead of you.
Head straight back with the Brandenburg Gate behind you and in about 200 meters, you'll come to a cold-war leftover; a statue of a Soviet soldier, beside World War II-era tanks and cannons. The Soviets insisted on building themselves a monument in West Berlin, and during the whole cold war it was guarded by Soviet soldiers.
Cross the street directly in front of the Soviet memorial and run into the southern part of the Tierpark until you hit the second crossing path and turn right. The next street you want to look out for is Stülerstraße. Turn right onto this street and follow it as it curves past a few embassies. At the next street, Rauchstraße, turn right into this interesting little neighborhood where there are a few creatively-designed modernistic apartment buildings nestled in alongside the park.
Turn left on Drake-Straße and follow it until you hit the canal where you can cross the bridge and run back to the starting point along the other side of the canal.
When We Weren't Sweaty
- Katz Orange - Great restaurant located in an old brewery. It has a small menu full of delicious dished made with local ingredients and is the perfect place to go with friends.
- Liquidrom - Wild and wacky spa that opens late into the night. You can lounge on deck chairs, grab a drink at the bar or float in massive darkened pools while listening to techno music underwater (clothing optional).
- Victoria Bar - Beautiful art deco cocktail bar, perfect for a late night drink.
What did we miss? Let us know your recommendations!