iiiiiAugust ii September ii October ii November

November 16 - Berlin, Germany

I have been to Berlin twice in the past - in 1975 before the wall fell, and in 1992 as a "liberated" city. As I have so little time to take in such a grand city - i gotta bust a move! Arrived at the Ost Bahnhof (eastern train station) and took off on foot after procuring a map at the station. Berlin is just a huge city, but nice to walk through, as it is steeped in history. Took a little bit to orient myself in this maze of streets, but after getting my bearings straight I headed towards the MarienKirch - the city cathedral. Continued on towards the oh-so-famous Brandenburger Tor by way of the beautiful street "unter den linden". Managed to reserve a hotel room at a tourist office at the Tor, but had to be there by 5:00, and it was way down the road. Still early - will not worry about that now - must . . . keep . . .walking.

Passed by the Reichstag on "Strasse des 17 June", but decided to save it for my night seeing - open until midnight. June 17 street lead me to the Siegessaule, a triumphal column commemorating the Prussian victory over the Danes in 1864. This is a wonderful monument made somewhat famous by Wim Wender's excellent film - Wings of Desire - a must see (both film and monument). I came to Berlin in 1992 almost exclusively to see this monument - inspired by the film footage. Carrying on towards the zoo I knew I would find the art gallery and two great modern architecture masterpieces - Hans Scharoun's "Philharmonie" and Mies van der Rohe's "Neue Nationalgalarie". Both are most impressive. On to see paintings by the old masters in the Gemaldegalerie. Way too many to note as I took in two hours of beautiful paintings before my watch reminded me that I had to be at the hotel by 5:00 - bust a move.

My hotel was quite near the Ku'damm - the Kurfurstendamm - a very busy section of central Berlin. The actual center of Berlin was located in the former East Berlin, so after World War II the Ku'damm became the heart of Berlin. Bright lights, towering buildings, restaurants and shops and the very famous Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche (memorial church) make this a must see area of Berlin. Bright, alive and pulsating. You know the drill - drop off your bag at the hotel and do some nightseeing.

I pretty much backtracked towards the Siegessaule and the Brandenburg Gate along June 17 and Unter den Linden streets to get back to the Reichstag to check out the new glass dome. Very nice! So very much to see in Berlin - you need two or three days - but tomorrow I'm off to Dresden.