Berlin, Part 1

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:

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

We also visited one of the memorials for the people killed trying to cross the wall.

Memorial for people killed at the wall

Memorial for people killed at 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.

Straddling "the wall"

Straddling “the wall”

Then there was Checkpoint Charlie, which was the famous crossing point between East and West Berlin which for members of the Allied forces

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie

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.

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate

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.

KaDeWe

KaDeWe

There was fish

KaDeWe fish market

KaDeWe fish market

And meat

KaDeWe deli

KaDeWe deli

And cheese as far as the eye could see.

KaDeWe cheese department

KaDeWe cheese department

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:

A street performer – he definitely got lots of attention!
Street performer, Berlin
The U2! We didn’t end up taking the underground, but we did take the S-Bahn.

U2 in Berlin

U2 in Berlin

I loved this little store called Pylones. Everything in the store was brightly colored and cheerful.

Pylones

Pylones

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:

Cheryl and the Berlin Bear

Cheryl and the Berlin Bear

Until next time… or better yet, “Auf Wiedersehen”!

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5 Responses to Berlin, Part 1

  1. Marilyn says:

    The architecture looks less “frilly” in Berlin and more plain and practical.
    The street performer has my attention too!

  2. zeneedle says:

    Tickling a Berlin bear would be very cool. I’m in awe and wonder over the street artist.

  3. Kym says:

    I always hate having sadness about passing something up on a trip. . . That street artist is pretty interesting! (What’s the secret?)

    • Cheryl says:

      I think there’s a heavy rectangular base under the pink dropcloth, with a metal support that goes up the walking stick and down his sleeve. Then there’s probably some sort of sling or seat attached to the end of that for sitting. Roughly along the lines of a wheelchair lift for a van like this .

  4. kitten says:

    Surely you know someone in one of those countries that would send on a Mona doll to you.

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