Berlin - Day 2
Thursday, 11 April 2013
Hello again, friend.
Today's Berlin blog is a little shorter than my last one as I spent the majority of my day on an Insider Tour. If you're heading to Berlin, I would massively recommend this company. I went on The Famous Insider Walk described as hidden Berlin with all main sites and a lovely American named Jared guided me round. If you want to check him out, you can stalk easily here.
My second day in Berlin was jam packed with information, culture and walking. Man, there was a lot of walking. If you plan your day, Berlin is easy to walk but the tube and bus do save your time and your feet. Please, learn from my mistake and don't expect the bus drivers to speak English. They haven't got time for persistent smiles and map reading. Trust me.
After we bought our tickets (you can buy them online or on the day) we began our walk and headed to the Unter De Linden, that translates to Under the Lime trees.
Our first stop was outside the protestant church below, Berliner Dom, with the Fernsehturm Berlin or the TV tower as it is more commonly known in the background, adding an interesting new spire to the church.
We walked along to the Neue Wache, or the 'New Guard House' that stands next to the old amoury. This memorial is Käthe Kollwitz's sculpture, Mother with her Dead Son and is incredibly moving. The building is now a memorial for the victims of War and Tyranny. If you'd like to know more about the building's history, you can read more here.
Further down the Unter de Linden stand buildings of Humboldt University. This one in particular marks the site of the Nazi book burning. Berlin is littered with parts of history that have become a part of its present day.
We stopped for lunch at a lovely, unassuming and understated cafe.
But I can tell you, without being unstated in any way that in this cafe, I ate the best soup ever.
I think it was a curried carrot, possibly with coconut. I will be trying to remake it soon!
After lunch we visited a variety of sites, including the site of Hitler's bunker and part of the wall we visited the day before. We then came upon a Holocaust Memorial that is vast and moving. The memorial was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and if you ever get the chance to walk through the stones that stand tall around you, I hope you are as touched I was.
We then walked down to the Reichstag and the Brandenburg gate and parted ways. Four hours flew by and Jared was extensive in his explanations, entertaining and able to answer any question we threw at him. I was impressed. Walking tours don't scream excitement do they, but this one is unmissable.
Man I wish I was being paid by this company to big them up, adjectives have been used. Unfortunately, I really just loved them!
We headed to Museum Island with the Pergamon Museum in mind. Our guide had also told us that if we were to visit any museum whilst in Berlin, make it the Pergamon.
Our main interest was the Gates of Babylon. If you have an idyllic picture of the gates in your head, look away now...
They kinda' weren't what I was expecting.
We walked to the gate through Grecian like ruins and when I was greeted with stained blue, uniform bricks I thought I'd taken a wrong turn.
Luckily the Pergamon Museum offers a detailed audio tour, and delightfully it's free, that explained all about the Gates of Babylon.
The colours are undeniably impressive. But still, all a little odd...
That evening we feasted on treats from Bio Company, Berlin's 'natural supermarket' that offers up fresh, organic and sustainable products.
We plumped for a smoked cheese and a soft cheese, a thin ham and cured german sausage. All enjoyed with a tomato salad and dressed green beans on freshly baked bread.
God, I wish I'd smuggled some home.
Washed down with wine, our feet up and talk of our day.
I passed out pretty soon after this. Berlin takes it out of you!
More German adventures next.