From Florence I traveled to Lucerne, Switzerland where I met up with my friend Allie. Unfortunately it rained cats and dogs all day Saturday so we stayed in the hostel and played cards before boarding an overnight train to Berlin. Upon getting to Berlin bright and early (around 7:30 am) we stored our luggage and headed out to see the city. We saw the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. At the Reichstag, the German Parliament, we waited to go up the glass dome on top of the building. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I really liked it! There was a ramp to take you up to the top complete with a very smart audio guide that was linked to where you were walking up the ramp, and gave you lots of information about what you were seeing. It was nice to get an overview of the city so that later while walking around I knew what I was looking at.
Today I went to see the Berlin Wall, or what is left of it. There are two areas-the first is a memorial that is currently being built, with some information. Unfortunately the museum/info center was closed so I read the exhibits around the area. It was amazing to see how desolate the space around the wall really was. Then I went to the East Side Art Gallery-it is 1.3 kilometers of graffiti/art work painted on the wall. It was amazing. The artists are really talented-and every so often they come back to touch up their work from 1990. I really enjoyed the messages of peace and interpretations of the wall.
From there I went to Checkpoint Charlie to see the old American entry. There were people dressed up as soldiers ready to take photos for 1 euro which were pretty amusing. Then I went to the Holocaust Memorial, which was interesting. It’s meant to disorient you-like a maze and was pretty successful. I wish I knew more about it but the information center was closed, I think. Then I found an old bombed out church near the zoo. It was really interesting because part of the old gothic structure is still standing but they did not reconstruct that part, rather they built an entire new church which is more modern steel structure with blue stained glass. Then I walked on the Berlin equivalent of Broadway-it’s amazing how I feel so at home shopping, no matter what city I am in.
I tried to go to the Guggenheim but had no luck since it is currently closed while they install a new exhibition. I was really looking forward to it. Oh well. Instead I had a nice dinner at a place called Emma’s. They served small dishes for a good price. I got Chicken in an almond-tarragon sauce and potatoes with bacon and onions. It was DELICIOUS! There were children playing in a fountain nearby-one of those where the water goes up side by side. It was amazing how these kids became instant friends while playing in the water. I should have joined in but alas, I did not. Tomorrow I am off to Amsterdam. I’m excited to see Anne Frank’s House and the Van Gogh Museum. It’s my last week in Europe-I’m excited to go home but am enjoying my last days here to the fullest and treating it like a vacation-so nothing too exciting or expensive (Europe has drained my bank account…and my parents).