Beautiful Berlin (Part 1)

After Amsterdam came Berlin.  We boarded a loooong train ride made longer by a delay due to an “accident with a person on the tracks.”  Whatever that means.  Anyhow, we finally made it late in the evening and after a mild meltdown about not knowing where our rental flat was located we grabbed a cab for the 1.5 km ride (wah wah…)  We had more mini crises getting the keys, actually finding the correct flat and getting the internet to work, but we figured it all out and finally settled in.

"Are we there yet?"

“Are we there yet?”

The bedroom, it was a beautiful flat with tall ceilings, detailed molding and great hardwood floors

The bedroom, it was a beautiful flat with tall ceilings, detailed molding and great hardwood floors

Looking into the living room

Looking into the living room

The kitchen/dining room area

The kitchen/dining room area

For our first full day we started with a visit to the Reichstag (after a stop off at Dunkin Donuts – apparently popular in Berlin based on the several locations we passed).  It’s a building with so much history, beautiful architecture and great views of the entire city.  After a tour of the roof & dome we walked to the Brandenburg Gate and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.  The memorial was deceptively simple but moving at the same time.  Underground there was an exhibit space showing stories, letters and pictures of hundred of Jews killed during the Holocaust.  It was a sobering experience but I’m glad we took the time to visit.

Inside the Reichstag Dome

Inside the Reichstag Dome

Looking at the sky through the Dome

Looking at the sky through the Dome

Looking down into the Dome from the top

Looking down into the Dome from the top

Looking over to the Tiergarten from the Reichstag roof

Looking over to the Tiergarten from the Reichstag roof

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Brandenburg Tor (Gate)

Brandenburg Tor (Gate)

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Inside the exhibit

Inside the exhibit

Walking through the stelae of the Memorial

Walking through the stelae of the Memorial

Sightseeing took a toll, so we stopped for lunch on the street before continuing on our way.  The afternoon started with a walk to Checkpoint Charlie.  It’s a famous crossing from the days of East & West Berlin.  Two famous standoffs occurred here between Soviet & American soldiers, thankfully none escalated to violence.  There was a great display of photographs and information detailing the beginning of the separation of the city at the end of WWII to the collapse of the wall.  Rather educational for these two young adults who were very young when the city (and the country) underwent reunification.

We then crossed the city to see the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral).  It had heavy Italian influences and was very different than other cathedrals we’ve visited in central or northern Europe.  Finally we had to get back to the apartment to ready ourselves for that evening’s Berlin Philharmonic performance.  It is considered one of the best orchestras in the world and I’m grateful we had a chance to see & hear them perform.  I’m also grateful C indulged my desire to go!  We capped the night off with dinner & drinks at a traditional beer hall.

Checkpoint charlie from the previous east

Checkpoint charlie from the previous east

Looking to the east from the west

Looking to the east from the west

The dome of the Berliner Dom

The dome of the Berliner Dom

Gold, gold and more gold

Gold, gold and more gold

The Berliner Dom

The Berliner Dom

At the Philharmonic!

At the Philharmonic!

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The uber talented musicians

The uber talented musicians

Augustiner brew for dinner

Augustiner brew for dinner

The conclusion of our whirlwind tour of Berlin coming up next!