I have never been to Berlin before although everyone told me how great the city is and that it’s a ‘must do in my life’. Well, I had no real chance before and I am not a real big-city lover either. But this time a good friend of mine asked me if I would like to see Berlin and meet a friend of his the afternoon of the second day. Of course I was enthusiastic.
So we left in the early afternoon on Saturday and only two and a half hours later we arrived in the big chaos of Berlin. He knows the city pretty well and within minutes we were in the right place: in the heart of Berlin, the Lindenplatz. We found immediately a place to park and as the weather was fine it was a great pleasure to walk around and have a first impression of the city.
It was very interesting to see the many nationalities in one place. Like the whole world meets in Berlin. Loads of tourists with big cameras, inhabitants rushing from one place to the other, a funny carriage with Swedish men drinking beer while pedaling to move the carriage around the streets.
On the way to the Reichstag (seat of the German parliament) we crossed a place full of artists, carousels, kids’ fun and more.
The Reichstag building is a beautiful construction of the late 19th century and housed the Imperial Diet till 1933. It was damaged heavily in a fire and forgotten in the following German Democratic Republic. Only with the German reunification the building got back to it’s original splendor.
We have not been inside but it is also from outside very impressive.
We walked over to see the surroundings, my friend telling me about history and what he knows about the place and buildings. He is German and very interested in his country’s history.
We walked over to the Victory Column. It was built in 1864 (finished in 1873) and was originally planned to commemorate the victory of Prussia on Denmark but by the time to inaugurate the column there were even more victories to commemorate. So the 8.3 m high golden-shining Goddess of Victoria was added. The Berliners call them ”Golden Lizzy” (Goldene Else).
There is a viewing platform on the base of the Victory Column from where one can have a beautiful view on places and long avenues surrounding the place. It is open daily from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm (5.30 pm in Winter).
For the rest of the day we walked around. Being on flea markets, having a long discussion about the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe as it is so modern and doesn’t say anything to me as monument, just as meaning. As we are different to modern and ancient we also discussed about the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It has a destroyed old tower and a modern besides. We haven’t been inside the modern one either.
The evening we walked in the streets, near to small canals, had something to eat in a pub and back to the hotel.
The very next day we started early in the morning. Again to the center of the city and taking a guided tour on a boat on the river Spree. That was a perfect idea as it showed a lot of buildings, had a guide to explain and we could the same enjoy the sun.
We passed a lot of the buildings we had seen the previous day but often from the back or at least another angle. I recommend such a guided tour at least to have a main impression and then to go to the places with major interest.
Very interesting I thought the Roman sculptures I wasn’t expecting in a place like Berlin. But they are from a later date than the Romans and are a symbol for a great Empire (Prussia in this case).
We saw a Jewish church and a lot of memorials for all the people killed during the second world war by deportation and KZ. They were often very heartbreaking and gave me have a cold shower running down the back.
I think the modern architecture and the old-stylish architecture are very impressive. They are sometimes touching each other and I felt them like cold and warm together, cozy and embarrassing the one, hard and dismissive the other. But they match, give an interesting contrast.
Later after noon we’ve been to visit my friend’s friend, a very nice lady living in an old house that reminded me my grandma’s home. I liked her flat and herself too a lot.
We came back in the evening and I was really overdone by all those impressions I had these two days. I loved my stay in Berlin and I am sure I will return to the city one day – soon.
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