This song kept getting in my head the whole time I was in Berlin, really only for the line "Here in Berlin..." not for the sentiments expressed particularly, but it can serve as a soundtrack for this post if you like!
On Thursday morning I discovered I could see Giselle’s hostel from just outside my hotel. Walked around and met her in the lobby. We waited till Frau Holl and Mr Fab came down then said our good-byes.
We caught a train to the East Side gallery which is the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall (except for the bits that have been taken out for new building) and also, apparently, the longest open air gallery in the world. Painted by 118 artists from 21 countries immediately after the wall came down, it officially opened as an open air gallery on 28 September 1990. It is now protected an a memorial and the paintings have been restored a couple of times already.
Next to the Topography of Terror exhibition, housed on the location of SS offices, prison and Reich security main office. It's a very comprehensive exhibition and documentation centre, both inside and out although it all gets a bit depressing after a while.
Next to Nineties Berlin a special multimedia exhibition ,only on for a short time (6 months). Using your phone you linked into their interactive information source. It was about the wall coming down and the culture that exploded in Berlin the the subsequent 10 years. Very loud, techno music. Interesting interviews on screens from various people with different roles and perspectives on Berlin at the time, from artists to historians to politicians, musicians and police officers. In an outside area they had a section of the wall and a memorial with linked information about all 138 people who died trying to escape East Berlin. There was a labyrinth that led to multimedia displays of music and images. Far more information available than you could possibly read/absorb in one go but overall very interesting.
We had a very late lunch at an Italian restaurant, very large pizzas but we managed to eat them!
From there we went to the DDR museum. This was a lot of fun, a very interactive, hands on exhibition about what life was like living in East Berlin including a Trabant car with simulated driving experience (Giselle managed to crash a couple of times before the fuel ran out!), and a whole apartment furnished just as it would have been in the 70's with lots to explore in the cupboards. Highly recommended!
Finally found a decent coffee! It took Einstein to make it...no actually Einstein Kaffee is a chain of coffee shops, I’ve only seen one other so far (I've Googled since and sadly it seems they are only in Berlin, Potsdam and Frankfurt, dammit). Such a relief to have a coffee that actually tastes good, is of a reasonable strength and isn’t half UHT milk froth.
We caught an S bahn train to Potsdam, about 35 minutes away, and then joined a bus tour. In summer months this bus is one of the hop on/hop off type but in winter it just has one departure daily with three stops of 20-30 minutes with a live guide to explain a little about where you are. On the bus the live guide only speaks in German but they have the usual recorded information in various languages available.
Potsdam is a very interesting place with a lot of significant history, particularly from the 20th century and the cold war. There are a number of very impressive buildings, variously described as castles or palaces. We stopped at:
We finished the day with a visit to the Ritter Bunte SchokoWelt, a cafe and shop where you can purchase everything Ritter chocolate. Afternoon tea of hot chocolate (dark for me, nougat for Giselle) and a chocolate fondue (got to get some fruit into us somehow!) and a few chocolate purchases (OK, four blocks plus a 500g bag of mini blocks for 7 euro) which may or may not make their way home to Australia!
I have written this while travelling on a train from Nurembery to Basel (via Frankfurt). I would have done it on yesterday's train to Nuremberg but the train's wifi wasn't working! I will update on our day in Nuremberg later.
What's happening here?
I'm off on an adventure to Europe, on my own for 12 days and the remaining 3 weeks with my 17 year old daughter. This is where I'm going to share my adventures.
On the map
See a bird's eye view of the trip on Tourbuilder
Heather Bailie ePortfolio by Heather Bailie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.