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