Saturday, July 27, 2019
European Holiday: Berlin, Germany
Last stop.... Berlin
What can I say about Berlin except that it's an awesome city. I was last there in 1985 when it was still a divided city so for me to see it as one was wonderful; it's a thriving city filled with history, parks, great museums, and more.
We had one last walking / coach tour with the river cruise group our first morning in Berlin. While I don't love being in a large group and doing a long hop on / hop off city tour, this one gave me a really good overview of the city and we covered much more ground than I would have on my own. For me to be able to stand at the Brandenburg Gate was amazing since the last time I was in Berlin it was between the eastern and western walls. I love that they have a double line of cobblestones throughout the city showing where the wall used to be.
Speaking of the wall, they have kept bits of it and the Eastern Gallery is the most famous: it's a mile-long stretch where they invited artists from around the world to showcase their art. The photo on the left is one of the most famous pieces: a painting of the photograph when Soviet leader Kruschev greeted East German leader Honneker. I know it's weird that I took a photo of blue pipes. When they do construction, they have to get the ground water pumped into the river so they use these blue pipes. I really like the way they look.
Berlin's symbol is the bear so they had these whimsical statues throughout the city (and a huge chocolate bear in one sweet shop).
Another interesting thing about the eastern part of Berlin is the traffic signals for pedestrians. They look different from any others I've seen in my travels and are so stylized. Turns out they have a name: Ampelmann and there are even stores devoted to him.
It was strange to say good bye to new friends that we made on the cruise, but also nice to meet up with my daughter for the last few days of the trip. My niece was traveling in Europe with her friends so we all met up for lunch on my birthday.