If it’s Monday, this must be Berlin
After a hearty Braunschweig breakfast brunch we are in the car and heading to Berlin, the last leg of my European odyssey.
It’s raining as we drive through once was behind the Iron Curtain. Not much to see but fields interspersed with wind generators. We’ve seen them all over Europe, but they are out in full force here.
Arriving in the city, we return the car and George goes off to his meeting and Morgan and I do some sightseeing. It’s cold rain, not even 60 degrees. We can see our breath and Morgan is complaining of cold. Unusual. We get a transport/sightseeing pass, grab some noodles in a box from a stand on the street (Berlin is known best for it’s ethnic, not German, food) and head off for some sightseeing.
The bus we take is a double-decker and we drive down the Kurfurstendamm, past the bombed out church left standing as a memorial, past the former Royal Park, past the President’s house, to the Reichstag. This is the building that when it caught on fire (nobody claims to know how) and Hitler blamed the Communists, his main political opposition. People believed him and gave him enough votes rise to power and open the camps to jail said Communists, then any opposition, then anybody different. This building has a new dome and has a line that stretches almost back to our hotel. We have two more days to visit, so we pass it by.
The Brandenburg Gate is nearby and we stand in the former “death zone” inside where the Berlin Wall used to stand. Standing here 30 years ago, we would have been shot. The gate was first built in the 1800s to represent peace. Napoleon stole the statue at the top, the Prussians got it back and named it for Victory. There is a room of silence built into the gate where you can ponder the effects of peace and/or victory. My stomach growls loudly, interrupting everyone’s meditation, and we have to leave.
We walk down Unter den Linden, the gorgeous (Linden)tree-lined boulevard lined with embassies, department stores, cafes and car dealerships. It’s the Champs D’Elysees of Germany. We see the hotel where Gloria Swanson said, “I vant to be alone”, not impressive to Morgan until I also explained that this was the hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his baby over the balcony to the delight/horror of the media below. We visit a VW dealership and Morgan finds a girlfriend (the best kind, tall, sporty, and plastic). We find the square where the Nazis burned the books. Next door to that was the Opera’s fabulous pastry shop, the longest dessert counter in Germany. It is 5pm, but we’ve gotten into the habit now of tea time treats, so we ruin our dinner with some of the best desserts we’ve had this trip.
Walking a little farther, we find the Radisson hotel with a cylindrical aquarium in the lobby. For about $17, you can ride an elevator through it. We pass and get on the bus back to the hotel. Morgan is really slowing down, says his stomach is upset. Unusual.
Back to the room, we connect with George back from his meetings. Nobody is really hungry, especially Morgan (unusual), so George and I go to the supermarket to get some water, wine, and dinner. I get a pre-made salad and some rotisserie chicken. George gets a sandwich. Back in the room, we watch tv, the movie Galaxy Quest, with Tim Allen. It’s in German, it doesn’t matter, it’s funny in every language.
I think we’re all slowing down on this last leg…