Saturday, August 18, 2012
Berlin, Saturday, August 18, 2012
Well rested, we left our apartment at 9am and took 5 steps (yes the subway is Right in front of our apartment building) to the subway (U-Bahn).
My hubby spent quite a while figuring out the automated U-Bahn, Museum pass ticket machine. I could tell he was thinking hard because his tongue was sticking out of his mouth…always a clear indicator of deep thoughts. We finally ended up buying the three day Welcome Card museum island pass which includes three days unlimited public transit, admittance to the island museums and discounts at other sites. For our needs, our best bet probably would have been the Berlin Pass but you need to order it in advance on line before you leave Canada.
We first made our way to the Brandenburger Tor (Gate) in Pariser Platz (square). This gate has had many commemorative and historical events happen around it since its beginnings as a tollgate in the late 1700s. It is very impressive.
From there we walked to Reichstag where Germany has the parliament. It’s another gorgeous building with a glass dome. You have to either stand in a really long line or book on line to get in. The boys didn’t want to stand in line so we admired it from outside before going down Unter Den Linden to the beautiful square, Gendarmenmarkt which is flanked by two twin churches.
Graham will never let me live it down that a guy came up to me speaking fast German and I said to him, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak English.” Why do I always say these things in front of the children?
Next it was on to Check Point Charlie where we went into the museum. Although, very interesting, there was a lot of reading involved with the museum and it was quite crowded. The stories of methods or escape were unbelievable. It’s amazing what people will do when desperate.
Unfortunately the ubiquitous golden arches was situated directly across the street from the museum and the boys were hungry. Yuck. The boys are in seventh heaven now that they can get junky food again, but I am putting my foot down, no more McDonald’s in Berlin…at least not for lunches or suppers.
There was a man selling military souvenirs on the street and Graham bought himself a Russian gas mask which he is quite thrilled about.
We made our way to Museum Island (passing many McDonalds) and decided to check out an antique street market before going to the Pergamonmuseum which is filled with many large rebuilt buildings/rooms/gates from ancient civilizations including the Ishtar Gate and a gate from ancient Greece. These treasures are so huge, that it is hard to believe they can be housed indoors. Fabulous.
When we left the museum, a man was playing classical music on wine glasses filled at different levels with water. It was beautiful, even the boys were impressed.
With weary feet we walked through an outdoor art market then laid down and rested in the grassy square in front of the Berliner Dom (Berlin’s gorgeous Protestant cathedral). I think I actually dozed off in the grass for a good 20 minutes.
The boys still needed more restoration, so it was off to McDonald’s again for milkshakes. When away, I know that Graham is always fine with McD’s ice cream products…but I do still show them his allergy cards, just to be sure.
Refreshed, we walked through Alexanderplatz (watching our cameras etc because we told it is a place where people tend to get pick-pocketed). There were people sitting around and dancing on a stage and people gathered around the Neptune Fountain. There was even an area where Occupied Berlin people had set up hundreds of painted umbrellas.
The Rathous (city hall) is really gorgeous with its carved façade.
We ended our day of touring at the Nikolai Quarter with its twin towered church 9the oldest church in Berlin,started in 1200). This is a very picturesque quarter and I really loved the St. George killing the dragon statue. The boys were commenting that they felt sorry for the dragon.
Cameron was feeling really tired and complained about having a headache so we grabbed the transit and went back to our apartment.
Although keeping my eyes open all day, I didn’t see any Mephisto shoe stores…I am sure one will pop up and when it does…
Back at the apartment, we found that Cameron had a slight temperature 100.5 so hubby and I got groceries and we ate in. He is now sleeping (Cameron that is).
Now I am doing laundry while drinking German beer. I hate hand washing.
Berlin is really a gorgeous city.