Saturday, October 16, 2010

September 11, 2010 - Saturday - Berlin

We got lunch just outside the hotel at a currywurst stand. They had delicious wurst and fresh French fries.

We walked south across the Spree and saw the Reichstag building. Moving east, we saw Brandenburg Gate and the contents of that plaza: US Embassy, French Embassy, DB Bank (designed by Frank Gehry). South from there, we walked through the Holocaust Memorial. We reached the former location for Hitler’s bunker, which is now nothing more than a drab parking lot with some information printed on a simple sign. We continued south to the large Ministry of Finance building that was formerly the Nazi’s Air Force building. Berlin has an upsetting recent history and elements of that history are strewn about. It is a blend of memories of the World War II and the Cold War. Remnants of the Berlin Wall border the SS “Topography of Terror” museum. Little Trabant (Trabi) cars can be rented by tourists and they buzz all around you. Checkpoint Charlie capitalizes on the nostalgia for that era with phony American security officers and cheap Cold War-era paraphernalia.

We secured our tickets for Prague the next day.

We returned to Rosenthalerplatz for more d√∂ner kebap, marking the beginning of Adam’s weariness of such repetition. Directly after this, we rode the S-Bahn down to the Templehoff airfield. This was the site of the Berlin air lift, and the main structure is one of the largest buildings in the world. The airfield no longer functions as an airport, but it is now a massive park where locals go to run/bike/skate/rollerblade on the tarmak, and picnic on the grass. We were both very impressed by the expansiveness of the field. The accompanying weather couldn’t have been better.

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