Today was our second day in Berlin, and tomorrow we leave
for Potsdam and Dresden. We started off the morning heading over to Checkpoint
Charlie and the museum where they had some amazing photos and stories of people
sneaking from one side of Berlin to the other. They really invented some cool
ways of doing it! Hiding in between two suitcases, inside chairs, radios, in
the engine compartment…lots of things. We also took a photo with a guard at the
checkpoint. Another cool thing, we got our passports stamped with the same
stamps they used at the checkpoint! Mom got all of them in her passport, Lori
got a few in hers, and since my passport was in the hotel, I got mine on a visa
they had, with the key checkpoint stamps (USA, UK, France, USSR, East Berlin,
West Berlin and the date the wall went down).
It was pretty cool! Then we went
to the open air museum where pieces of the wall are still standing in their
original place and there are exhibits in what’s left of the basement of the
Gestapo building where they did torture. Then we headed off to see the Jewish
memorial and the Brandenburg Gate and took some photos there. We then walked to
the TV tower, hoping we could catch a nice lunch in the revolving restaurant on
the top, only the line was way out the building, so we decided to skip it and
have lunch on the ground. I had potatoes “Potsdam Style” which basically meant
in this cheesy creamy sauce with other vegetables. It was good, and I have a
photo of it as well, but it wasn’t what I expected! Hehe.
After lunch we took the U-Bahn to Charlottenburg Palace,
which was my choice for the day.
We got there in the early afternoon, but since
it closed at 5:00, we only got to tour the Old Palace and not the new wings and
the gardens, which was a bit of a bummer, but oh well. We saw the Rococo style
instead of the Baroque. Most of it was pretty cool, and there were some really
fantastic ceilings and wall paintings and the like, but other parts were
reconstructed because of all the damage from the war, but they just weren’t the
same. My favorite room was the oval room which looked out on the amazing
gardens. If I ever come back to Berlin, I’ll make sure to come in the summer
and see the new wing and tour the gardens…I suppose it’s alright that we didn’t
get a ticket for the second half because as we were leaving it started to snow!
It was really cool! I mean, since we don’t get much for snow at all in the UK,
I was really excited for it…I mean, it had sort of hailed/snowed for a minute
or two in the morning, but this was REAL huge flakes of snow, and it looked
like we were in a snow globe! It was amazing! We were going to walk to the
U-Bahn to go see the New Synagogue, but instead we stopped in at a little
bistro and had some coffee and cake and watched the snow fall outside (and
waited for it to let up so we could continue our walk to the stop).
Once we got to the synagogue, dusk was approaching, and we
walked along the river for a bit, took some photos of the museum and the
Cathedral, then headed toward the TV tower again. We thought we’d go and see if
the line was any shorter than it had been earlier in the day, even though we
had essentially given up on the whole idea…but since it was there…why not.
Turns out the line was a LOT shorter, and the wait for the restaurant was only
20 minutes so we hopped on up, in the elevator and up we went. The view was
pretty nice, but nothing spectacular, much like the food…a bit mediocre. I don’t
think I’d do it again…and the ticket for the observation deck was significantly
overpriced. I mean, Berlin is a nice city, but there’s not much for a panoramic
I think the tower is one of the tallest in the world though, or something
to that effect, so I guess that’s pretty cool…but I’d much rather go to the
Empire State Building and look at New York. Well, that’s all for today. I’m
excited, tomorrow we pick up the car and start our German road trip! But before
leaving Berlin, we’re going to go by those Embassies again so I can take a few
pictures…hopefully the photos will do the buildings justice…and maybe you can
guess which belongs to what country!