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June in Berlin Part 2

Discussion in 'Non Disney Trips and Travels' started by Mags, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    I will just post a very short piece of blurb about what we did and lots of photos.
    Today was an intensive history day for us, so after a delicious German buffet breakfast consisting of lots of cooked goodies, yoghurts, cereals, brioche, croissants, rye bread etc (we didnt taste them all) we headed off to Potsdamer Platz to have a look around before heading up towards the Reichstag.
    It was an absolute breeze travelling on the U-Bahn even at 9pm and after a few stops we were there. I love looking around there and as we made our way past the Lego Centre towards the Sony Centre we noticed this little guy

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    and a cafe beside it with a large plastic cow!

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    I love the way the Germans have been so sensitive to trying to preserve any building they can that hasnt been bombed to kingdom come and this must have been one of the most beautiful. It was the oldest and grandest hotel in the city and the only piece remaining after the war has been preserved. It must have been so beautiful

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    The Sony HQ is quite spectacular and one of the few tall buildings in Berlin.

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    Michael and I made our way by foot (an easy walk) towards the Holocaust Memorial. It is a very impressive reminder to the horrors of war. It is a series of graduated stones, increasing in height and then decreasing again after the half way mark. Here is michael sitting at one end

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    and here is the monument as you walk through.

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    We stopped off for a cup of coffee and a Dunkin Donut at the other end and sat and pondered.

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    The coffee was great as usual and after finishing, it was just 5 minutes walk to the Brandenburg Gate

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    On the far side of the gate, there was lots of entertainment with living statues and entertainment artists.

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    This guy was the best I have ever seen and of course performed to order when given 50 cents.

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    We then walked the few hundred yards to our next stop, the Reichstag (German Parliament) where we had organised a free 1 1/2 hr tour. I found a reference to this on an obscure forum and thought I would apply through the parliament. I did this about 2 months in advance and got given the clearance about 5 days later. If any of you ever visit the city this is the best freebie around. You go in to the Reichstag on the north side avoiding the large queue which always seems to be there
     
  2. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    [​IMG]

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    Unfortunately they had given us the wrong time for the tour. The German tour was at 12pm and ours was at 1.30, so we wandered down a side street and found a Linder Deli where we had a delicious lunch

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    Looking tired and grumpy

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    and the food which was yummy

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    We had enough time to walk down to the Russian war memorial which is in what was old East Berlin.

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    Politics aside, it is a seriously impressive memorial to the millions of Russians who also died in WW11.
    It was now time to return for our tour of the Reichstag and this turned out to be one of the highlights of our short trip

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  3. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    I cant remember the name of our guide but he spoke perfect English and was a great orator. Here he is standing beside some of the grafitti left on the walls of the Reichstag after the Russians had stormed it at the end of WW11. They simply wrote their names and home towns on the walls. Most had to be cover up in the refurbishing of the building, but some pieces have been left exposed.

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    We had an amazing tour around the building and were taken to spots where the general public never go. We even saw the Speaker heading into the members' cafe and were standing outside the Chancellor's office!

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    We headed off into the upper areas of the Reichstag and had a wonderful view down into the debating chamber itself.

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    The Dome is a fabulous piece of architecture

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    and looking down into it was breath taking.

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    We were also allowed into the gallery of the parliament.


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    Having done the tour and said our goodbyes, we collected earphones and made our way up the dome.

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    The views across Berlin were fab

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  4. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    Michael and i agreed that we had had a great day so far and as we walked back from the Reichstag we headed for Starbucks (not my favourite) so that he could try their German chocolate cake - it is very good!

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    It was then back to the hotel where we had a lie down and rest before heading to Mr Vongs (a Vietnamese Cafe) which gets great reviews for the food and is cheap. It was slightly out of the way but eventually we managed to find it. We saw this beautiful old building, which gives you some idea of just how beautiful the architecture must have been before the war.


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    It was easy to find the Cafe! Lots of people had the same idea as us, but having got there early we at least got a table. We both shared the Vietnamese sring rolls with dipping sauce and then I had a main course soup with noodles and chicken. Michael had a chicken curry. Ihad a fresh orange juice smootie with cane sugar and lime and Michael had a fresh raspberry smoothie also with lime and thai basil. Now that smoothie was gorgeous!

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    I think the total cost with tip was 27 euros and the meal was delicious.

    Afterwards we headed back to the Potsdamer Platz to the Blue Man theatre. We were in the splash zone, so it was on with the coats. The show was exactly the same as in Orlando and just as enjoyable.

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    Now we thought we had finished for the evening, but as luck would have it, we took the 'wrong' exit from the station and found ourselves walking straight into a German chocolate shop. We spent far too much money in there but the chocolate was soooo good.

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  5. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    This was their chocolate gurgling volcano

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    and this, their chocolate Brandenburg gate.

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    We headed back to the hotel exhausted. I dont think we have ever put so much into one day and we had the sore feet to prove it too.:yes:

    Margaret
     
  6. Disneybumble
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    Disneybumble The Secret is in the Sauce.

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    Thank you so much Margaret. Ignorant l know but l have just never given thought to the bombing raids on Germany. The holocaust memorial looks beautiful and good to see that it is recognised.
     
  7. foreverducky
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    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

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    Okay, move out of my way....I'm heading for the choc shop....Yummy!!!!

    I was wondering if there was anything written on the memorial stones? Do each one mean something? Just curious.

    I was wondering if many folks spoke English? I was wondering if it would be hard to get around. My German is pretty much forgotten.

    Thank you so much! This really does look a great place to visit.
     
  8. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    Oh the embarrassment of it all. :embarassed2: Everybody speaks English. Really, you dont even have to attempt German, even in the cake shops or cafes. As for the memorial, it is amazing. It just stands alone and speaks for itself.

    Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

    It is just a few paces away from where Hitler's bunker was. The fact that it is barely marked and the memorial is so large speaks volumes.
    As for the chocolate shop, honestly, you wouldnt have to push me out of the way - it is so big. There is plenty of room for us all. :lol:

    Margaret
     
  9. *Bambi-Belle*
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    *Bambi-Belle* Imagineer

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    I really like Germany, I've been a few times North and south. The south is very pretty.

    The walk through memorial is very sad I thought.

    Sounds like you had a fab time. xxxxx Lovely photos.
     
  10. foreverducky
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    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

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    Thanks for the link on the memorial, I read it over, and then did a search about it. I am still confused as the design, as it seems so abstract, but that's just me. :unsure: Please don't get me wrong, I am very pleased that there is a memorial, but I just don't *get* it.
     
  11. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    I haven't been to Berlin since before the wall came down. I always did consider it a beautiful city, especially in the old Western zone. I would love to be able to go back some day.
     
  12. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    It is abstract but honestly, I think if you were there you would get it. The think it had to be a large abstract design simply because of the size of the crime and what it takes to remember it People were walking through not talking and reflecting. I know that is what we did as the walk took us a good 10mins. I honestly dont think a single monument would be enough

    I think my point was that so much has gone in terms of buildings. The city is still very beautiful in parts, but I mean that it is perhaps not at its best particularly in the Eastern sector where so many concrete blocks have been built. Still, they too are part of the 'beauty' of the city and the history and I just loved it all. I particularly loved the wide boulevards which in June smell so sweetly of the Linden (lime) trees and the fact that it wasnt bustling and people were very friendly and polite. I do hope you manage to get back. It is wonderful place.

    Margaret
     
  13. Isafari
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    Isafari Wild Animal Expert

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    Wow, magnificent photos and a great trippie.
    I love the hotel front that's been preserved behind glass.
     
  14. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    And thus the name of one of the main streets in Berlin Unter den Linden.
     
  15. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    Indeed! What a beautiful street it is and the trees smelt amazing as when we did the sightseeing tour down Unter den Linden last year. Off to do Part 3.

    Margaret
     
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    Dawn carpe diem-ing Forum Host

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    Mmmmmmmm, chocolate.... :drool:
     

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