This building at Lichtenrade was an old brewery and at some time also a granary.
It looks like were going to be lucky with our weather in Berlin, today is bright and sunny â€˘ perfect weather for exploring the city. Our first destination is Checkpoint Charlie â€˘ the old border control post between East and West Berlin. We take the train and eventually make it to Kochstr. Thereâ€™s still an American flag flying over the little guardpost â€˘ protected with sandbags. Soviet, German and US flags and references to all three countries are present everywhere. Tourists have their picture taken with people dressed as US soldiers in uniform and flags right by the post. There are also men dressed as soviet soldiers with Soviet flags posing by the checkpoint as well.
We visited the museum with historic references to and events regarding the wall from its construction until its destruction.
Itâ€™s interesting to see the ingenious methods that people used to pass through the border undetected and also a little chilling to see and hear about those that didnâ€™t manage to make it through. Thereâ€™s a lot of information about the various defense systems that were in place over the year, including automatic detection systems that automatically shot people in the restricted areas around the wall. The museum was interesting, but some of the money taken in from the entrance fees should be used to clean the place up and add to the quality of the exhibits.
Haus am Check Point Charlie. There's a museum here with memorabilia about the wall, it's historical significance and related news events over the years.
After Checkpoint Charlie we headed for Museuminseln and theBode and Pergamon Museums. We didnâ€™t make it to the Bode museum, but the Pergamonwas one of the major highlights of this visit to Berlin. Itâ€™s an amazingly impressive museum which houses entire (enormous) buildings and structures from the ancient world, Greek and Roman statues, reconstructed ruins of Babylon including the Ishtar Gate and an entire processional street decorated with glazed bricks.
Exhibits include the Temple of Pergamon (this was amazing!), huge columns from the temple of Athena Polias, the Berlin goddess and the market gate of Miletus.
Haus am Checkpoint Charlie.
From the Pergamon museum we headed through an outdoor market with art and handicrafts to the Berliner Dom and the Egyptian museum. I need another trip to Berlin to be able to see both of these, but there just wasnâ€™t enough time â€˘ and after the Pergamon, the Egyptian museum would have been an overload! In the esplanade in front of the Egyptian museum there were a number of sculptures which I think were of Fernando Botero, the Columbian artist. They were of â€śroundedâ€ť people, animals, etc. I enjoyed looking at them and will try to determine if they really are his.
As we wandered from one area to another we had ample chance to test Berlinâ€™s public transportation system â€˘ buses, subway and above-ground trains. They are really good â€˘ service is great and the maps and ticketing system is pretty easy for a visitor to figure out.
Other highlights of the rest of the day were the St. Marienkirche, Rote Rathaus, Nikolai Viertel (reconstructed old quarter of the city), Nikolaikirche (oldest church in Berlin originally built in 1260), Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag.
I wanted to see the Jewish Museum as well, but it was pretty late by the time we got there â€˘ good thing itâ€™s not too far from Warsaw for another visit sometime.
The Holocaust monument, not far from the Brandenburg gate is really interesting â€˘ 2.700 concrete slabs of various heights on an uneven surface below. At first you are looking over the slabs, but as you wander among them, they engulf you, eventually towering above you. It was designed by US architect Peter Eisenman. It is an extremely abstract monument with no inscriptions, symbols or plaques.
Right by the Holocaust monument is the Adlon Hotel. This is where Michael Jackson caused a big stir by holding his baby kid out of a window.
After all of this walking and exploring we took a train back to Lichtenrade and had a great dinner.