Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and family!
Berlin has many, many museums
and other offerings, and even though we spent a good deal of our time walking the neighborhoods, and finding good restaurants, we did manage to see some of the most important sights.
One must book ahead to go into the dome of the parliament building, the Reichstag, and we discovered that if you show up anywhere close to the time that you reserve, you can enter. Half hour early? No problem. Just show your i.d. and pass through the metal detectors, and you are in. The glass dome and reconstruction of the building was completed in 1999 when the government began meeting in this building again.
The free audio guide (in many languages) tells more about the Berlin skyline than the building and the parliament, and one strolls up the circular ramp to the top, then down another with great views all the way.
Next to the Reichstag is the Brandenburg Gate, probably the quintessential Berlin landmark, an 18th-c arch with the Quadriga (the statue on top of the gate). When Napoleon made a triumphant procession through the gate, he had the Quadriga taken to Paris. After his defeat in 1814, the statue was restored to Berlin.
The Queen was in Berlin when we were, and we saw many barricades in this area, but we did not see the Queen.
Not far from the Brandenburg Gate we wandered through the Holocaust Memorial. Over 2,700 concrete slabs arranged in a grid over an undulating ground of various heights and dimensions, the memorial was completed in 2004. It was a beautiful and somber experience.
The site of Hitler’s bunker is now a parking lot with an explanatory sign. We had watched the movie Downfall just before we went to Berlin, so that put the area in context.
You can also read about the Two Small Potatos’ experience in Berlin (even if only one potato went…)