Rose has decided that we will post one post for Berlin, so while Rupert and Pauline are hosting a delegation from Otago University at the New Zealand Residence we have gone to a local Beer House and will write this post (our grammer may suffer later on in the post as the beers are huge).
We seem to spend a whole day getting to Berlin as the flight left at 1:30pm, but we had to be at the Airport by 11:30 and we didn't get to Pauline's house until 6pm.
The first day in Berlin saw us wasting the morning before leaving for the city centre and walking through the Reichstag (parliament house) and Brandenburg Gate. After lunch we went to a Holocaust memorial and passed the location of Hitler's Bunker (reportedly his place of death) which is now a car park. At the local railway station near to the New Zealand Residence there is a memorial to the trains which transports tens of thousands of Jews to the various camps to be murdered which we walk this morning. Murdered is such a blunt word, but the one that is commonly used when referring to the mass killings by
the Third Reich, The train track are still there but tree now ground around them and no trains will travel from these tracks again.
Day Two saw us flying solo and we decided that we would head for a river cruise and then to the hop on hop off busses. Again we managed to waste the morning and didn't get on the boat until 1pm. The boat cruise was great and took 1 hour going up the river and passing a number of buildings that were severely bombed during the war, but restored 20 years later, it was great to see that there were alot of restaurants and beer gardens lining the river banks and the general pace of the city is quite slow. After the boat, we hopped on the bus and started the tour, Rose quickly frustrated the driver who came down to ask if she wanted to stay on the bus or get off!! Actually when the bus stopped, Rose hopped off to take a photo and jumped back on (through the exit door). We then stopped at Checkpoint Charlie and you can see some of the photos. After this we left the bus as we
were running out of time, so we got a taxi to Berliner Dom church, which is now a museum. The facade of the church was exquisite and there was a busker playing in the park across the road who had stopped about 100 people to watch him. Tonight we went to a local Hunting Lodge beer garden for a lovely dinner in the local forest great place to dine in summer.
Day Three had Pauline back with us and we started at the East Side Gallery (not actually a gallery, a road with 1300 meters of the Wall) with sections painted by over 120 artists as part of a 20 year anniversary of the dismantling of the wall. We then moved on to a Turkish Market which was outstanding, we stopped here for lunch and I had a smoked eel roll with lettuce and pickles and a coffee from the mobile coffee stand in a Piaggio Ape. (Lincoln, we need to get Rose one of these...) On the way back to the train station we stopped at a bread shop who made flat bread all day long, we got some for dinner and they were still hot from the
oven. Pauline left us at the Hackesche Hofe which are 8 interlinking courtyards with small designer shops in each one. The building were brick, but they were made with glazed bricks and this gave a very bright colour scheme to the buildings. As with all long days touring Berlin, we then decided a Beer was needed and stopped at a beer garden for cool refreshing Lager.
Today being Saturday, we all headed to Potsdam to the Sanssouci Park with is a collection of Summer castles of the various Kings of Prussia. But first we stopped at the Glienicker Bridge which is the bridge where the US and Russians traded Spies in the cold war. All we needed was a foggy morning and we would have felt like a trade was going down. We got to Sanssouci Park and walked around the terraced gardens and fountain before our 5 minute time slot to enter the Sanssouic Palace for the tour. Once in the palace, we were treated to 12 beautifully furnished rooms ranging from a grand entrance, a library, to a number of guest suites including bathrooms and each with a servant room. After the tour we went into the
windmill and then on to the Orangerie, which was another palace which included 2 long rooms (100 meters) of indoor fruit tree growing area for the winter. The room has floor to ceiling windows, about 60 feet high and the King grew Oranges, Bananas, Pineapples and Cherries. We guess that they grew the trees inside as the winters snowed as being outside would have killed the trees.
Tomorrow we are saying goodbye to Pauling and Rupert and heading back to Italy. We will start the next post from Trieste in two days.
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