A Walk In The Park
Berlin Travel Blog› entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
Woke up and packed up as we were only staying here for one night. Checked out just before 11am, but left bag at reception to pick up later. Headed down to the Alexanderplatz and past it to the Fernsehturm, TV Tower, where you can get up and view the city. Decided it would be worth it today as it was a lot clearer. As an idea of how bad the weather was yesterday the Fernsehturm is 203m high wand was getting covered by cloud :O.
Went in a queued for tickets, and saw a screen that listed when the ticket numbers were allowed access. Looking at it I reackoned it would be an hour before ours would be up, so we headed out to have a wander round the surrounding area. In the square in front of the tower is the Neptunbrunned fountain. Had seen it when looking things up about Berlin, and locals say that the women on the fountain attending Neptune are the only ones in Berlin that can keep their mouths shut :D.
Carried on over the road and came to a big statue of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and just behind that was a white wall with carved figures. Headed right and came to the Berliner Dom cathedral and the Altes Museuem beside it, which makes it a nice little square with a fountain in the middle of it. Concious of the time we headed back up but detoured past the Altes National Galerie and the Neues Museum. Got back to the tower at 12:27 to find our tickets were up for the 12:20-12:30 slot so we headed straight up. Had to wait at the security area for them to open the barriers and then had to queue again for the lift. Once up at the top it was fairly busy but did get to see lots of stuff and get great views across the city. Also as I tend to make it up as I go along I decided what we were doing next :D.
Came down from the tower,had a walk round Alexandeplatz to see the fountain and the World Clock, then headed for the S-Bahn and took it two stops to the Ostbahnhof where we walked out the door of the station to find the East Side Gallery straight in front of us . I had expected to have to look for it :D . the East Side Gallery is a preserved section of the wall that has had artists from all over the world come to and paint murals on a section each. Think it was first done in 2000, but had been redone last year,2009. Walked along it and there were some interesting and poigniant murals on it. Having grown up with the wall as a symbol of division i found the CV mural probably the most moving as it incorporated a little rose for each of those killed while trying to escale over it .
When we got to the end of it I had a look at the map and saw that another on my list of things to do didn't look that far away, so we hit the S-Bahn again and headed further east and then onto the S42 circle line to go to Treptower Park. The main attraction was supposed to be a Soviet War Grave and Memorial, but when we came out of the station we found a funfair and loads of Germans sitting drinking beer at big tents. Turned out, from a sign we found later, that this was the Treptower Hafenfest, which was on for four days. Walked through the park, and began wondering how they could hide something like a big war memorial. Eventually we walked along the road in the middle of the park and came to an arch which was quite clearly marked as something Soviet .
The statue that we had seen was that of a 'Grieving Mother Homeland' and the park opened out with two large blocks on either side with the hammer and sickle on them and a statue od a kneeling soldier in front of each. Treptower park is the largest Soviet War Grave outside of Russia, with some 7000 buried here, some of the 22,000 Soviet troops killed in the final push for Berlin during the war.
On the other side of this was a garden with white tablet up each side that told the story of the war and then at the far end was another big statue, whch had loads of flowers still placed around it, from the week before with the 9th of May marking the anniversary of the end of the war.
Once we had seen enough decided to head back into town and go to Checkpoint Charlie and got the train to Friedrichstrasse. Ended going the wrong way when we came out, but proved a good wrong decision for a bit of aimless wandering. First thing we came across though was a tram crash :O, with some car having tried to turn left in front of the tram and not being quick enough. We then saw a shiny dome thing we had seen while we were up the TV Tower and went to see what it was. looked at the mao to figure out where we were and what it could be and decided it was the New Synagogue, which after doing all that then decided that the Star Of David on the top of it should have been the give away :D.
Walked back parallel to Friedrichstrasse and crossed a bridge in front of the Bodes Museum, before getting back onto the main street and heading down.
Got down to Checkpoint Charlie and took loads of pictures. It has reverted for touristy purposes to the 1940's version, and I was again taken back to my last time there when the last version of it was still there and was a much more recognisable border frontier, like an oversized petrol station without the pumps. It was time to switch hotels and we headed back on the S-Bahn and picked up our bag and then went to Potzdammer Platz to the next hotel. Checked into the Ibis and my daughter was again tired and went for a kip, while I went out to suss the local area and find a supermarket.
Found an American diner and went in there for a meal and then headed up to see the Brandenburg gate and Reichstag at night. On the walk up we went past the Holocaust Memorial, but it wasn't easily seen at night. Just as we were getting to the Brandenburg Gate there were flashing blue lights all down the road and police motorcyclists were starting to seal the roads off around it. We cut through the first bit of it to make sure we were on the side we wanted to be, expecting some dignitary or something. We were standing looking at it when about a 1000 rollerbladers came piling through the gate :D. Not something you see every day.
Headed back to the hotel and came across the British Embassy, which is around the same area as the US,Russian and French embassies but, while all the others had an obvious police presence outside, it was the only one that had bollards blocking the road off at each end and police vans at each end of the road as well as the guards in front of it. Strange .
Got back near the hotel and found a shop still open. Went into look and they only had bottles of beer. Asked the guy if he sold bottle openers, since there wasn't one in the room, and he said no so I left it. just out the door and he came chasing after us with a bottle opener and said I could have it for €1, so I went back and bought a few beers and he didn't bother charging me for it.
Daughter was getting internet withdrawal symptoms so, much against my principles, I gave her the money to get a 24 hour log on, figuring it would do her for tomorrow as well since it was 11-30pm by now, so we sat in the bar while she played with her phone. Met a young English guy, who was over with his dad who had gone to bed and he was on his way out to go clubbing. Sat and had a few beers, some from the bag ;), and he ended up wanting me and my daughter to go with him. Had to explain I was never that much into it and that she was only 15 so there was no chance :D. Ended up with him going out in a taxi at 2 in the morning and the pair of us headed for our room.