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Walking through Berlin

Home -> City trips -> Berlin -> Travelogue Berlin -> 07 September 2002

Saturday 07 September, walking through Berlin

Jumble saleAnd again the day starts very well with nice and warm weather, so we haste to leave the hotel. First we take the subway to the Strasse des 17. Juni (June 17th Street). Every saturday and sunday there is a jumble and art sale here and it is relaxing to start the day by looking at all the stalls and the things they have for sale. The atmosphere is very pleasant, while the cars race by on the broad avenue next to us.
Siegessäule Strasse des 17. JuneIn the distance we can see the Siegessäule with the gold plated statue of Victoria. Inside there is a spiral staircase which leads to a lookout post, but this time we don't want to climb.
Without buying anything we leave the marketplace and go to the Potsdamer Platz.
Potsdamer PlatzThe travel guides all say it is the biggest construction place of Europe and it is indeed: although some buildings are finished, tens of cranes still dominate the site and tower high above the highest buildings. The city council wants the Potsdamer Platz to become the new centre of Berlin, like it used to be before the second world war.
Checkpoint Charlie, BerlinFrom there we set out for Checkpoint Charlie, the once so notorious borderline between east and west. A marking line shows where the border used to be, but it is inconceivable how threatening the place looked before the fall of the wall.
Checkpoint Charlie, BerlinTeije once was held there for a few hours when he (not quite sober anymore) wanted to cross the border at 4 at night (1983), to visit a friend of his in East-Berlin. Only a few things remind of the zigzagging border crossing which used to be almost 100 metres long with mirrors above and on the road.
The cathedral and concert houseLeaving Checkpoint Charlie we walk towards Mitte where many Prusian and baroque monumental buildings dominate. Like yesterday, we have made a long walk already and we take a break in an outdoor cafe on the Gendarmenmarkt, a square between the resembling French and German cathedrals. Between the cathedrals is the also very impressive Konzerthaus (concert building). Demonstrators, who demand that the Moon couple (from the cult sect) get permission to visit Germany, occupy the square, while we enjoy our drink and the sun.
Berlin Mitte, center Palast der RepublikBut after some time we want to go on, along the library and the Humboldt-university to the Berliner cathedral. We walk along the river Spree, behind the Palast der Republik, once the parliament building of the GDR. It will probbaly be pulled down, because there is too much asbestos in the building.
The medieval-looking district Nicolaiviertel was only build in 1987 by the GDR-government, as a status-project, and only the Nicolai church itself dates back to the 13th century. And on we walk, along the Red Town Hall, named so for its reddish colour and then we are back on Alexanderplatz. There we eat a Turkish pizza at a restaurant which sill survives from the old East-German times. And, amazingly, it is still very cheap.
Hackesche MarktNext, we go with the S-Bahn to the Hackesche Markt, where we first give a long rest to our exhausted feet (again!) while movie teams are shooting a tree in the rain. They need lots of water to make it look like rain, because we are panting in the hot sun.
Reichstag, BerlinAfter a walk through the totally renovated Hackeschen Höfe we continue our journey towards the Reichstag and all the new government buildings which are being build here in a fast pace since the German government moved from Bonn to Berlin. We refrain from a visit to the glass dome in the building, that is in use as parliament since 1999: the lines are too long and we can't imagine it can be worthwhile waiting so long.
Wrapped up Brandenburger TorVia the Pariser Platz and Unter dem Linden we walk to the Brandenburger Tor which will be restored on October 4, 2002 (we are too early) in its old glory. And we are not going to sit on the terrace of this expensive hotel, for a drink (coffee + beer: € 16,50). We have done that the first night.
Alexanderplatz, BerlinSlowly we walk back to Alexanderplatz, where we stay for hours, enjoying all the things we have done and seen today. The long walks and all the impressive old and new buildings.
Alexanderplatz, Berlin Alexanderplatz, BerlinWe don't think one can call Berlin 'beautiful', but it surely is impressive. The mixture of styles of architecture, old and new side by side give the city a very distinctive look.
Our hotel roomThe high television tower, the Fernsehturm dominates Alexanderplatz, illuminated in the dusk. Once build by the eastern government to show the world that East-Berlin also was a modern city, although the inhabitants thought differently.
Fernsehturm BerlinWe still walk in T-shirt when we arrive back at our hotel at eleven at night. A short visit to our own roombar, then we are off to bed, very weary. It has been a long, but very rewarding day in this metropolis.


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