Denise and David in Europe 2016
October 22-23
  Germany - Berlin part 1
last updated 23 October 2016
Back to Germany - Wuppertal part 2 Forward to Germany - Berlin part 2

Saturday 22 October - Berlin day 1

Berlin (Hauptbahnhof) Central Station. Look out Berlin, the Kuchmars have arrived!

... and next door only 100m away is our hotel the Steigenberger Hotel Berlin.  We are on the third floor with a view of Berlin from our floor to ceiling windows that is terrific.

After a short rest and lunch, we set out for an easy stroll that ended up in a long walk.  We just couldn't help ourselves.  We are so central to a lot of points of interest it was hard no to get involved in the sites along the way.

Pictured above is the front of the Government building. Behind it The Bunderstag.

Pictured below the Fernsehturm - there is a look out and a restaurant.  Hoping to check it out.  This was photographed on zoom from our hotel window.

Our afternoon walk started at the river Spree.  We enjoyed watching the cruise boats sailing up and down and especially were entertained watching them turn around up stream.  We actually out walked the boat cruise so we know what they were looking at so no need for a boat cruise now. It is so dark on the river tonight and so quite I am thinking no dinner cruise either!  Before we knew it we had walked about 2 kms and our sites were set on a monument in the distance about another 500 meters or so away.

Everything seems so neat in Berlin.  Even the buildings along the river look neat and all the same height. The walk was exactly what we needed after our long train trip this morning.  Strolling along hand in hand we were enjoying the scenery and the fresh air.  The weather was overcast and cool but not cold.

Not quite Check point Charlie yet but needless to say a checkpoint.  Now, which way to go?

We decided to head toward the gold angel on the pole in the distance.... passing Schloss Bellevue  the Presidents residence.

and arriving at the Siegessaule via an under the road entrance.  Berlin's answer to the Arc de Triomphe perhaps, complete with huge roundabout surrounding it.  The traffic more orderly than Paris however.
It is actually a monument to Berlin, Germany to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War.

Some statues nearby.

Helmuth Karl Berhhard Graf von Moltke was a German Field Marshall.  He was the chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years.  He is regarded as the creator of a new more modern method of directing armies in the field.

A close up - The ‘angel‘ on top of the Victory Column is actually not an angel. It is meant to be 'Victoria' – the personified goddess of victory in ancient Roman religion. The monument was originally designed without the Victoria sculpture on top.

Now to climb the column via spiral staircase.  Denise counts the steps 292.  We get to the a narrow and unsettling viewing platform.  Hold on.... only room for two rows of people up there.  Cosy as it was we had our turn in front to take photos.

Here are the views.  The iconic Brandenburg Gate. The gate has been built on the site of the a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel.

Wow... it is a long way down....Look at that roundabout!

More of Berlin as it branches out from the monument.


and not only that ........

woahhhhhh!!!! Easy stomach. Fighting off a bit of the wobblies!

Back at ground level we caught a little cab ride back to the hotel, rug and all. It was fun. We ended up going through some lovely parkland.  Check out the green lake behind us.

Views through the Tiergarten (gardens).....

and some lovely woods...

Thank you Elvis for the great bike ride back.

Another break at the hotel and then dinner at the train station.  Handy having a food court next door.

Sunday 23 October - Berlin day 2 - Our Tour of The Berlin Wall

Hop on hop off bus tours can be particularly handy for seeing the sights and then focusing on the ones that mean the most to you to go back to and explore further.  So for two and a half hours we were driven around Berlin to various points of interest and here are some of the things we saw along the way.

Wow.... Pretty good looking trams.

Berlin Streets ..... Where's all the traffic?

Part of the Berlin wall area.... the buildings behind once inside the wall. (The originals torn down and rebuilt)

Remnants of an era gone by....

A gap in the wall.   Notable artists have been commissioned to paint on the old wall.  Pity about the graffiti artists over writing the artwork!  The wall is still a contentious issue to some who would just like to see every part of it gone.

Pictured below is an above ground concrete bunker.  The walls are 3 meters thick.

David in between what used to be the Berlin Wall. 

From the top of the Berlin Wall Museum we caught a glimpse into the life of those who lived behind the wall.  If you got over one wall you really didn't stand a chance... there were two walls to go and those who tried to escape were either shot on site or imprisoned any where between 1 and 8 years. It just depended on the seriousness of the escape plan.

They're watching.

Below a panorama of where the wall continued down the street. Steel poles now marking the way.

The armband below was worn by volunteers to the border troupes.  They were unarmed and acted more as informers of those planning escapes.

We are now inside the wall.   Kinda creepy.  The cross marks a mass grave site.

Pieces of wall still standing ...

The only piece of wall that still blocks one of Berlin's streets off.

From the outside of the wall....

From the 1960s homes from inside the wall.

The bridge below ended up being cut off by the Berlin wall and we saw a photo of the wall seemingly ending right in the middle of an apartment block and presumable (because we couldn't see it) coming out the other side. How on earth could you have your bedroom in East Germany and your Kitchen in West Germany?

Another part of Berlin and we are inside the wall again.  When we got as far as the white high rise building we realised we couldn't get out to the main road.  However we found an escape route.  It was tricky and we risked falling into the river but we made it.

On the other side of the wall.  Artists are commissioned to do paintings of the wall - this was what one artist did. We think this sums it up.

More Berlin tomorrow and primarily the sites of West Germany.

Back to Germany - Wuppertal part 2 Forward to Germany - Berlin part 2