We all arose this morning between 7:30 & 8:30 am, feeling rested to various degrees. :-). Deb visited the local bakery and returned with a delightful variety of baking that we could nibble on with our Via coffee while we planned our day. At 10, we zipped across the street to the Kaufbar fir our complimentary welcome breakfast. It was great!
We then set off on our own rambling self-guided tour. We passed the Reichstag, and continued on to take a look at the Brandenburg Gate. Lots of action there – we couldn’t determine if they were tearing down from yesterday’s Marathon or setting up for German Unification Day on Thursday.
We wandered for a ways down Unter Den Linden, checking out numerous embassies and some high end shops. A detour took us to Gendarmenmarkt where we saw the Konzerthaus. From there to Checkpoint Charlie. Although the actual checkpoint isn’t much to look at, there was a very interesting display with the history of the Berlin Wall and the many attempts to cross it, some successful but many with not-so-happy endings. L & D had driven up to the checkpoint in West Berlin in 1989, just the month before the collapse of the wall. It was very interesting for them to remember it as it was and see it today!
We passed through the H university area, where both Lenin and Marx studied and Einsten was a professor for a time. The historic buildings here were much more appealing.
We sat for a while in square in front of the Berliner Dom, listening to a street violinist and watching people. This is at one end of Museum Island, which is the home to a number of notable museums – and is also the home to many cranes as construction is booming! Not being real museum people, we admired the exterior of the buildings and continued on our walk. We do plan to return to visit the DDR Museum at some point this week.
We hopped back on the S-bahn and headed back to the Brandenburg Gate. We watched some protesters who are apparently on Day 30 of a hunger strike – Deb & I think they looked a little too healthy for that?
Our next stop was the Memorial the the Murdered Jews of Europe. Consisting of 2711 stark blocks, it is a haunting monument and will hopefully continue as a statement that such atrocities cannot occur again. Hmmm – perhaps some current Russian politicians need to visit here….
The Tiergarten offered a lovely spot for a peaceful walk. Debbie commented that it always amazes her how parks such as this can seem so peaceful in the midst of a bustling city! We passed an interesting area – the Global Stone Project. There are 5 stone groups here and 5 others in the 5 continents of their origin. Once a year, on June 21, the light of the sun connects all 10 stones by reflecting the light beams. Viewers are invited to join the invisible straight lines using their imagination to create a circle a symbol of a united mankind.
Another trek down the street, a short U-bahn ride, a longer S-bahn trip, a bit of a walk, a stop at the supermarket and we were home. Then off to a local pizzaria for a fabulous dinner of salad and authentic Italian pizza. One of these days, we will actually get to German cuisine, but so far have been enjoying the ethnic diversity of the neighbourhood we are staying in.
B,H, L & D