Berlin, Day 2
Berlin Travel Blog› entry 4 of 9 › view all entries
Gray skies and drizzle greeted me this morning, but it was not too bad at first so I grabbed my travel umbrella and headed toward the Zoo to try and see Knut, the world famous orphan polar bear cub. I ran into my second Art Bear behind the Hotel -- one with a Rainbow Tie.
Knut had been born earlier in the year, and it's mother abandoned the cub. The zoo keepers decided to raise Knut by hand, and created a bit of an uproar from some that said the zoo should let nature take it's course. That created a huge uproar -- by those who wanted to see Knut saved from "nature" -- and he instantly became news world wide. Attendance at the Berlin Zoo skyrocketed with this newly-minted star attraction.
My next stop was to see the bombed out remains of Kaiser Wilhelm's Church (dubbed the "hollow tooth" by the locals due to the cavity like appearance the bombed out tower has). It is an amazing sight -- all that remains is part of a tower and the copper roof spire has a huge opening at the top. A new modern tower has been erected immediately adjacent to the ruins. It has huge blue stained glass windows and a large Jesus in gold with a cross against the field of blue. It is really beautiful.
I continued walking down the Ku'damm, which is the major shopping street in Berlin. I stopped in at the Hard Rock, Berlin for a beer and t-shirts for my sons and a few extras for friends. Just another one of those obligatory stops.
I also visited a rather unique museum in Berlin today -- the Erotik Museum! It's a very interesting museum, well outside the norm! It has a huge collection of erotic art from all over the world. The bottom floor is a shop where various items can be purchased (videos, toys, etc, ha ha), and the museum is above the shop. You take an elevator to the top floor, and work your way down, back to the shop.
My next stop was across town to Museum Island and the Pergamon Museum. This museum has the full altar and many statues from Pergamon, an ancient city from Asia Minor (now Turkey) that at one time tried to rival Athens. The altar is fully restored, and you can climb the steps and explore. The museum also houses the Gates of Ishtar, the main gate into Babylon from the time of Nebuchadnezzar II, about 600 BC. The gates retained the vibrant colors of the time, greens, blues, oranges. They are decorated with huge lions, deer and other animals.
I walked back down the Unter den Linden past the other museums of "Museum Island" -- named that because this area houses most of the important museums of Berlin, and is surrounded by the river. It is pretty close to the East Berlin TV Tower, probably the most famous erection left by the Soviets from the time of their domination of East Berlin (that or the ugly block housing evident in East Berlin). I also saw the Berliner Dom (cathedral), the Monument to the Martyrs, and the huge Russian Embassy.
I headed back to the Hotel and decided just to eat there, as my friends were tied up with the convention tonight. I met another one of the convention workers, a local temporary hired to help out, and he joined me for dinner. His name was Robert, was born in East Berlin before reunification and was 3 when the Wall came down. His had spent time in Boston, England for school on an exchange program, so we had a lot to talk about -- travel, school, Germany, the Wall, his family living in East Germany, etc. It was nice to have a meal and conversation with a local!