Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wintertime in Berlin, Germany!

     I am never traveling in winter ever again. Having said that, we had a great time in Berlin, Germany this past weekend! Yes, it was freezing, and yes, we spent hundreds on coffees and other tasty HOT beverages, but it was worth it. There might have been only two English-speaking channels on our TV at the hotel, but we did find out that it was between -10°C/14°F and -5°C/23°F. We persevered though.
     Snow greeted us as we got off the plane and hustled to the U-Bahn on Friday. We arrived at the hotel around noon and walked across the street to get lunch before going on with our day. I decided on the train that in order to fully appreciate the German culture, I would have to suspend my vegetarian diet to try some of their famous sausages which we both had for lunch. It was delicious, but Stephen was the only one to enjoy the purple sauerkraut (yuck!). That night we visited the Memorial for Murdered Jews which is the picture on the left and the Brandenburg Gate on the right. Behind the Gate they were having a Mercedes Benz Fashion Show which we tried to sneak into, but were promptly refused at the door.

     On Saturday morning we visited the Reichstag or Parliament Building where we went up to the dome which looks out on the city.  The dome is quite cold because it is outside and their is an opening in the roof, but the view was amazing--you could see so much!  Since it had been snowing the day before, many of the windows on the upper levels were covered with snow as you can see behind Stephen.

      We decided to make the trek towards Check Point Charlie which took about twenty minutes.  After seeing the very small and unassuming stop, we got a pastry and some cappuccinos and started to walk to the Topography of Terror which is the museum on the right.  The building is built on former Gestapo headquarters and creates a very comprehensive timeline of the war.

     Right outside of the museum is the only piece of the Berlin Wall that is left still standing in the city.  It is only the length of the street, so it isn't very long, but it definitely was not what I imagined!  I thought it would be a huge, towering wall, but in reality it wasn't that tall without the barbed wire.  As you can see, there has been a lot of wear (graffiti, holes, etc.).

     Below is the view from our hotel which was right on the Spree river.  As you can see, Stephen is afraid of heights (just kidding!).

     On Saturday night we had tickets to a show at the Friedrichstadt-Palast where we saw "Show Me!" a Vegas-styled show with acrobatics, dancing, singing, waterfalls (yes, waterfalls!) and a lot of other really random stuff.  Since there was no dialogue and most of the songs were American, we were not only able to understand the show, but enjoy it as well!

     On Sunday, our last full day in Berlin, we visited a flea market a few metro stops over in the morning.  It was quite odd.  Since it was a flea market, it was cheap tents put up with people selling a lot of different things--some were selling home goods and furniture, some food, but there were a few different vendors who were selling cameras--really old, vintage-style cameras.  These people must have had three hundred cameras, some with the accordion-type lens which was really interesting.  It looked something like this.  Anyway, we left empty-handed and stopped to get Chinese before heading back to the hotel.  That night we went bowling and ate near the TV Tower.

     The weather definitely limited us from doing too much walking around, so we stayed mostly on the 'Eastern' side of Berlin.  It was a beautiful city with wonderfully nice people!  I am glad to be back in the somewhat-warm weather of Italy, though.