I’m not really sure what I expected from Berlin, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. It gave me the impression of a newer, cleaner, cheaper, quieter, less-crowded and more-friendly New York City. No crazy drivers constantly honking their horns, and with efficient, non-scary mass transit.
It’s very lively, with lots of wonderful buildings in various architectural styles. Apparently it’s got a great nightlife, and the cost of living is low enough that it’s a great place to be a young adult.
We started with a quick tour of some of the major sights, including a portion of the Berlin Wall – this is the section at the “Topography of Terror” museum – there is an open-air exhibit in the trench created alongside the wall:
We also visited one of the memorials for the people killed trying to cross the wall.
And had a chance to straddle the marker for where part of the wall used to be. One foot in the East, one in the West.
Then there was Checkpoint Charlie, which was the famous crossing point between East and West Berlin which for members of the Allied forces
and the Brandenburg Gate, the famous city gate which was in no-man’s-land between sections of the Berlin Wall. Since we were there on Reunification Day – the national holiday commemorating the reunification of Germany in 1990, there was a huge open-air festival being held that evening at the Gate. Some of the people in our group were planning to go there, but since we had to get up very early the next day for our flight, we decided to skip it.
All of the buses are parked at the gate in preparation for the evening festivities.
But not everything was about the war or its aftermath. We went to Kaufhaus des Westens (known as KaDeWe), continental Europe’s largest department store. (Harrods in London is the largest in all of Europe.) It has 7 floors, with 60,000 square meters (nearly 15 acres) of selling space. The entire 6th floor is a delicatessen, and the 7th floor contains restaurants. We’d heard about the famous deli, so that was our destination.
There was fish
And cheese as far as the eye could see.
There were huge sections of chocolate and candy, breads, pastries, and condiments. It just went on and on. They need floor maps, because I’m not sure we even saw everything – it was like a giant maze. We didn’t even attempt to shop on any of the other floors. It would take several days to get through the entire store.
In the next post, we’ll visit some museums. But until then, here are a few random images from Berlin:
I loved this little store called Pylones. Everything in the store was brightly colored and cheerful.
I was greatly tempted by this “Mona A” nesting doll, but didn’t get it. Now I have sadness.
But I did get to tickle a Berlin Bear:
Until next time… or better yet, “Auf Wiedersehen”!