Published: April 9th 2012March 7th 2012
Nina Hagen’s view of East Berlin was that it was a world of black and white – the colour was missing. The main tourist hot spots of today’s Berlin are in the old East, but the colour is returning .......... slowly. The woman dressed as a clown by the Brandenburg Gate, had graduated to colour but still looked like she had lost a Euro and found an old East German mark! Her mood clearly didn’t improve as she saw a long lenses aimed at her. The East German border guard continued to work the crowd by the Gate. A cheery soul he skilfully targets the snap happy and creates the pose of the past, before gratefully accepting any contributions or perhaps the Euro the clown had lost. He was doing brisk business. The skill set could clearly be passed on to the staff that perform the same employment tasks round near Checkpoint Charlie.
The security remains high round the corner at the British and US embassies, as it does outside the Bundestag. They have reopened the dome in it’s roof, but you have to book a month or two in advance on the internet or there is no
way through the maze of portakabins that now reside as some form of reception for the tour of Parliament. There appeared to be another more permanent extension on the government buildings to the side of the main Bundestag – perhaps sorting out Greece requires more office space.
It’s a 20 minute stroll down Uter den Linden from where the old East German Parliament building is now just a piece of grassland. They knocked it down by all accounts and unsure of what to develop in it’s place, it remains just a derelict space in search of a purpose. We paid a visit to the Deutsche Guggenheim Museum. When I say paid, we didn’t – we went on Monday when it is free. As a rule, art galleries don’t feature on the tour – you’ve probably noticed if you’ve visited other blogs that stadium architecture is a more likely excuse to get the camera out. We went to this one, because it was free. I was disappointed. I would have been even more disappointed, if it had relieved me of 6 Euros or whatever. There a nice print of a Tin Tin work and beyond that .......well the
cafe looked alright. Maybe we went when there was a poor exhibition ....... make your own mind up, but I’d do it on a Monday. The man in the middle was more impressed by the collection of old VWs in the car showrooms that house all the Volkswagen brands, although they were clearly well out of warranty so employment opportunities would have been limited for him.
A fine day always brings out the desire in people to climb to highest vantage point for a look across a city or whatever. The high point to aim for is the old TV tower near Alexanderplatz. For the sum of 11 Euros you can reach the viewing platforms and for an additional sum the VIP pass allows you to ump the queue into the revolving restaurant. Alas, the fine day had brought with it many others who had been waiting for a break in the clouds. The queue snaked across the square from the entrance. We retreated down towards the Berliner Dom – Berlin’s answer to St Paul’s Cathedral. The man in the middle went to investigate the entrance arrangements. A mere 7 Euros not only gets you into the
cathedral and crypt, but also on the viewing platforms by the dome. OK so there are a few stairs to negotiate, but the view is pretty impressive ................. and the cathedral is not bad either. All the sights are visible, but our eyes would naturally be drawn to the distinctive floodlights of the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark. A final memory of Berlin for the man in the middle of when the Trees took Europe before them
There are more photos below