When I was last in London for a weekend, I noticed rickshaws in some of the tourist spots, ready to pedal you from one sight to another and save your weary feet. So when I was sightseeing in Berlin this spring, and saw more rickshaws I realised that this is a trend and that rickshaws are not just for South East Asia or India, but a cute way of seeing the cities of Europe too.
We had teenagers in tow and when we spotted the rickshaws at the end of Unter Den Linden, the boulevard that runs down to the Brandenburg gate, it seemed an ideal opportunity to get there without exhausting ourselves. However, rather than just take us down to the Brandenburg gate, the rickshaw guides suggested that for a little more, they take us on a round trip of some of the beautiful old buildings and important sites on the way.
The cost was around â‚¬18 for each rickshaw, and the tour which lasted about 45 minutes was really enjoyable, with the guide explaining each of the sights and at some places leaving us time to get out and wander round for a few minutes. My friend and I went for the hippy chic style where the poor guide had to pedal as well as explain and answer questions, whereas our teenage girls chose the sleeker electrically enhanced rickshaw.
We relaxed as we were taken down Unter den Linden, admiring the beautiful buildings, then stopped at Bebelplatz to see the underground memorial of empty bookshelves, to commemorate the spot where the Nazis organised a burning of ‘subversive’ books in 1933. Then it was onwards into Gendarmenmarkt, the old marketplace where the twin churches of FranzÃ¶sischer Dom and Deutcher Dom stand facing each other. Afterwards we reached Checkpoint Charlie, and got out to read about the Berlin Wall on the information boards, then along a cobbled road passing a stretch of the wall that still remained. We passed Potsdamer Platz, the complex of modern public spaces, shops and offices, on past the stone blocks of the Holocaust memorial and ended at the Brandenburg Gate.
Although it was a whistlestop tour, it was a good way of getting our bearings and seeing a lot in a short time, which allowed us to decide what we would like to go back to, to explore in more depth. And a great way to rest our weary feet.
Photos by Heatheronhertravels
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