The Eclectic Mix Of Berlin
Berlin Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
Woke up feeling a bit rough, but luckily where I had planned to start the day wasn't far away, in fact it was just round the corner :D, and it was in the fresh open air ;). The Topographie Des Terrors is the site of the Gestapo and SS offices from the 1930's on. The plan was to build a whole new headquarters there, but they ended up just taking over other offices around the city. Badly damaged by bombing during the war, it was demolished, but on the site they have an outdoor exhibition of photos and information relating to it's use. Also along one side of the exhibition is a section of the Berlin Wall preserved as it actually was, with all the holes knocked in it, at Neiderkirchnerstrasse.
From here it was a short walk up to The House Of Ministries, on the corner of Leipzigerstrasse/Wilhelmstrasse. Scene of the 1953 uprising in East Germany against communist rule, demaning lower quotas, free elections and the release of all political prisoners, which was eventually put down by Soviet tanks on the streets. There is a memorial there and a mural painted along the wall. Walked along past the Bundesrat and into the Sony Centre at Potsdammerplatz. Here we did manage to find a big giraffe made out of lego, strangely enough promoting a shop that sold lego.
Jumped the U-Bahn from here uo Alexanderplatz and walked down past the Fernsehturm to the Sclossplatz. Site of the palace, Berlin is meant to be centered on it, but it was blown up by the communists and replace by a Hall Of The People, which was meant to be quite hideous, but alas it has gone as well now and it is just an empty site, though no doubt not for long.
After we came out and crossed the bridge noticed a few statues to the left and went to investigate. Turned out to be Schinkelplatz, no great significance but interesting information signs that had a picture of the statues bomb damagedand still toppled over in rubble which was taken in 1949. Back on trak we went past the Deutsches Historisches Museum and came to the Staatsoper Opera House at Bebelplatz. At the back of Bebelplatz is St Hedwigs Cathedral, which looks a bit odd.
Kept going along Unter Der Linden until we reached the Brandenburg Gate and then turned left to go to the Holocaust Memorial. Really quite a strange site as there are no real signs of what it represents. A series of black grantite type block of differing sizes set along paths that go up and down. You get a better perspective of the scale of it, it covers 19,000 square meters, from the other side from the US Embassy, and it is only to the side on the right of that there is an information centre, and exhibition underneath it, that it tells you that officially it is the Memorial To The Murdered Jews Of Europe.
Having realised we'd missed the Soviet War Memorial in the Tiergarten we headed along to it. Last time I was there it still had Soviet soldiers guarding it, and you wouldn't have dared to do anything but take pictures of it from the road.
Came back out the Tiergarten at the Reichstag and jumped back on the U-Bahn and headed for Sophie-Charlotte-Platz on line U2. Came out the atation and found the direction signs for the Schloss Charlottenburg which was 1km away. Though to be the largest and nicest palace in Berlin and built in the late 1690's. You can walk about the courtyard and gardens and there is a shop at it.
Once done, had a look at the map and we were only one station away from the Funkturm, described as Berlins Eiffel Tower. When we got there we found the Conference Centre nearby, and for some reason there is an international bus station here as well.
Being out last day thought we'd better get some pressies and souvenirs, so we got the U-Bahn back into town and walked down to Checkpoint Charlie and bought a few things. Only a five minute walk back from Checkpoint Charlie to the hotel and we went in and dumped the stuff, I grabbed a couple of beers, while my daughter played on the internet.
Decided for dinner to go to local German restaurant at the end of the road to have a meal and then returned to the hotel bar for the rest of the night as we couldn't walk any further :D