Accessible Berlin – A Packed 4 Days

We (Rose & Bruce + Jean & Declan) landed at Schonefeld Airport courtesy of Ryanair where our tour guide, Frank from Viator (Click Here), was waiting to take us on a tour of the city. Frank really loved his work as a guide and his passion was evident in his narrative while he drove us around with the occasional stop for a photo shoot or a more detailed description. We saw the Wall and its amazing artwork, Checkpoint Charlie, The Brandenburg Gate, The Bundestag and so much more that we didn’t notice the time passing.

We had booked the Holiday Inn on Alexanderplatz (Click Here) which is very central and accessible. Our room had a laminate floor which is very easy for wheeling but can be a bit ‘slidey’ when getting into or out of a bed that I felt was too high for comfort. The sink and mirror in our bathroom were perfectly set but the shower area had no seat although one was delivered after we raised the issue at reception. There were no drop rails adjacent to the toilet but we were told that they could have been supplied if requested. Overall we were happy with the hotel but really disappointed that the rails had not been offered when we complained about the shower seat. It seems to me that on requesting a wheelchair accessible room all the necessary assistive devices should be in place on arrival. I emailed the hotel on May 15th regarding my concerns and at time of publishing have not received a reply.

 

 

There is an area in Berlin called Museum Island which is a UNESCO Heritage site containing five museums but because of the brevity of our stay in Berlin we could not visit all of them. We chose to visit the Jewish Museum (Click Here) which is not located on the island and is spread over a number of floors with elevators, accessible toilet and easy access to all areas. We spent a few saddening yet enlightening hours there. There is an entry charge of €8.

We visited Sachsenhasuen Memorial and Museum (Click Here), a former concentration camp. It is about 70Km from the hotel and we opted for a taxi rather than a bus trip and guided tour. I had never set foot in a former concentration camp and it was unsettling to be in a place where so many people had lived and died in such brutal circumstances. This was an experience that put flesh on the bones of my history lessons all those years ago in school. The camp is very accessible but with large areas of cobble which make wheelchair travel more difficult but it is well worth the extra effort. Accessible toilet facilities are available and there is no entry charge. These are some of the mass graves inside the camp.

A cruise is a stress free way to see parts of the city invisible from the road. There are a variety of operators offering a variety of tour times and the operator we chose (Click Here) provided lunch and refreshments. See my previous post about the importance of selecting your embarkation point. Prices vary with the length of cruise and whether food is served.

We had planned on visiting the TV Tower (Click Here) but for structural reasons no wheelchairs, buggies or mobility impaired visitors are allowed entry. See my previous post on the topic.

26

TV Tower

We visited a ‘flea market’ on Sunday morning and then took taxi ride to Modell Park (Click Here) which has scale models of all the major buildings in Berlin. It is set in a pedestrianised public park with its entrance a good distance from the public roadway. It is totally accessible with an accessible toilet and the trek from the public road is worth it. Entrance fee €4.50

We then visited the Bundestag and particularly the dome built atop the building (Click Here). The views are fantastic. The Dome is totally accessible. An elevator and accessible toilet are available but security requirements mandate a security check well in advance of your visit. Entrance is free.

Food matters while on holiday; we ate twice in La Maison de L’entrecote, attached to our hotel where the Curry Wurst was absolutely beautiful. We ate in the Hofbrauhaus which is an enormous Bavarian ‘beer hall’ that is easily accessed with a spacious accessible toilet and great food. We had a beautiful meal in the Block House which is very accessible but sadly has no accessible toilet facilities; see my previous post. We had lunch while on the river cruise. We snacked and coffeed in a number of places but the accolade for the best cheesecake ever goes to Café La Mouche where we had the most gorgeous Blueberry Cheesecake. Unfortunately the toilet facilities were not great.

We only used the train system once and the train was accessible without the need for assistance from station staff. Both stations we used had elevators. A visual inspection of some tram carriages showed that they are equally accessible.

I had read a report that Berlin was in the TOP 10 of accessible cities and I would certainly agree that it deserves its place close to the top. Well worth the visit

The staff at Schonefeld were courteous and obliging but lacked the equipment for seamless boarding and disembarkation. I choose to wobble down the stairs on arrival but I was carried back up on a chair.

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