Sunday, August 10, 2014

Berlin: Part Zwei

We have now been in Berlin for almost 5 weeks!  Time really is going by so fast we can barely keep track of it.  Rich is now finished with his one week German course, and I still have one more week.  Learning a new language is sure fun..but hard!  Luckily the teacher was very clear that making mistakes is "ok" because that is how we learn; although I don't think he realized Rich and I were in the class:-).   A t-shirt we saw summed it up: Life is to short to learn German:-).  

We have been exploring this great city almost every day.  Each time we chose another street to walk or area to explore, even more unfolds around us!  The combination of building styles: old German, new German, Stalinist Gothic (in the east), German neo-classical, along with so much green space and open sitting areas- it all seems to work.  The down side- Germany appears to feel the need to fill every space with a building.  Sadly, too many of them are boring steel and glass boxes.  They have the chance to re-build the city, and mostly they make good decisions.  But the bad decisions stand out like sore thumbs.  For instance, the area around Brandenburg Tor is now so cramped, it is claustrophobic with boxy buildings.  Sadly, the American embassy is one of the plainest buildings in the area.

History is all around us in this city.  Sadly, too much of the history is not so good.  We visited Sachsenhausen, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the DDR museum, and the wall museum.  All excellently detailed and informative; and all bring a tear to your eye.  I am not posting any photos of these sites.  Not because I don't think it is important or that people can't handle it.  I am not posting them because no photo or any of my descriptions can possibly express or convey the information and message each of the sites want to teach us, as humans.  You must experience them yourselves.

Two of the sites here, the Reichstag and Brandenburg Tor, are my favorites in the world.  They represent German history, and are beautiful and exciting to visit- what is better than that:-).

We were so lucky to have Stefan visit us from Switzerland.  All visits are too short, but this was especially short as the time flew in the blink of an eye...but we did alot!  And we missed Ivan.  His evil employer made him work!

Here are some photos that hopefully show why we love this city:

 The BerlinerDom- Cathedral- at night with the TV tower in the background.

The Reichstag is the seat of the German government, and has been since the creation of the German state in the late 1800's.  Hitlers government never sat in this building!  During the years the country was divided, Bonn was the capitol of the West.  Once again, a united Germany occupies the Reichstag!
 Over the front entrance are the words, "Dem Deutschen Volk".   It means so much more than "the German People", the word "volk" means the people and their soul that make them German.
 Side view in the rain
 The cuppola on the roof of the Reighstag
 As part of energy efficiency, the Reichstag uses mirrors to focus light into the chambers.  They are also fun to make faces in:-)
 Another side view of the Reichstag in the evening
 Detail of the corner of the building
 Stefan and I acting like German secret police protecting Angela
 Rich and Stefan in the cupola at night
Selfie on the roof of the Reichstag

The Brandenburg Tor is the last remaining gate into what was imperial Berlin- it is so beautiful!!!

We are staying in the Savignyplatz area of Berlin- here is the little square by the S-Bahn station.  It is surrounded by restaurants and shops.  Totally old-Berlin!

This is Rich with Emma!  We have stayed at this same Pension everytime we have come to Berlin.  It is run by Frau Kolinowski.  Now her daughter Doreen works her too!  And Emma is the third generation operator.  Se is totally cute, all full of personality!

 This is the main train station from across the river Spree.  The station is 5 stories tall!  The Germans re-routed the river for a year to build this station!!!

The city has a German-American Festival:-).  We went for a few hours- nit was quite cute, although there was nothing American about it except American flag table clothes:-).  but they had rides- we went on the Ferris wheel and tilt-a-whirl-on-steroids ride, a beach (sand with beach chairs) with corona's, lots of German food, candy and other edibles.  It was very cute!
 this is the poster, with all our iconic symbols!
 the park from the top of the Ferris wheel
 Rich and Stefan goofing around at the house of horror!

 We went to the modern art museum where a light show was being presented every 15 mintues.  Stefan and I fell asleep during it, but not until we goofed around with the light screens:-)

 Potsdammerplatz at night!

Down time with a beer at the river.  This is the Ampelmann Park!  It includes Ampelmann beer- not so good, but cute as all!

 Selfie at the Berliner Dom
 And a great night out with Stefan and our Camino friend Josh!

Out of order, but this is the view we had while drinking beer by the river in our Ampelmann chairs.  Just beautiful view of the Berliner Dom!

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