berlin 2.0

The morning was cold, gray and smoggy. It had been raining all night and my first thought was of my very old tiny red umbrella sitting pretty, back in my place, merely 3000 km (ish) (1864.1 mi) away.

Supposedly we could borrow an umbrella from the hotel, so when we got to the reception the very nice lady said “they’re all gone.”. Apparently they only had 20 umbrellas (I dunno how I know this… O_o), and of course they were all gone. 

Luckily it had stopped raining, so it was a nice fresh weather – which is awesome if you have to walk for most of the day – and we were on our way for the first tram ride of the day, after having breakfast/lunch at Burger King. The tram surprised me immensely. There are these screens in every stop where you can see how long it’ll take for the tram to arrive, and it was never late once. After a 5 min ride we got to Alexanderplatz

We entered then in the Nikolaiviertel. This neighborhood was definitely something that was obviously build  post-war, because the buildings were all relatively new, trying to bring about a medieval appearance. The GDR government really tried to make it look original because even the walkways were different from all the rest. There we saw the cutest bars and restaurants, very german, very traditional – and I bought an umbrella! There was this amazing bookstore selling only those tiny books that are just adorable. Unfortunately the store was closed… 

The Nikolaikirche is an amazing building. Its walls carved with bullet holes and the inside was enormous but so simple. 

From there we walked to Unter den Liden and to the left to Friedrichstraße. There we took our time admiring a very shiny Bugatti Veyron and a Bentley. There was this scientific exhibition there, where we could see and try different experiments involving mechanics, sound, images, light, technology… Very interesting to see. 

On Friedrichstraße we found this tiny pizza store where we sat outside to have the most delicious pizza ever, taking in the views – how germans are so very elegant in a simple way, relaxed but still business-like. 

Galeries LaFayette were just there and of course we had to go in. I get a bit claustrophobic in such places…not because it’s a tiny space, quite the contrary, but every path we take inside is packed with very expensive stuff that I do *not* want to even touch. So we took a pic at the glass cone inside and off we went to the Brandenburg gate. We spotted a Dunkin’Donuts place and we decided to get a 6 donuts’box and eat just at the entrance of the Tiergarden. Side note: the Bavarian cream donut was  is SACRILICIOUS. 

The Tiergarten is… immensely huge and by the 2nd day in Berlin we were wise enough to not even *try* to explore the biggest garden in the city. The bare idea of taking just a walk there was completely out of the question because we would spend the rest of the day inside the garden and would not be able to see anything else but a tiny fraction of it… 

There was this line formed at the entrance of the Reichstag. Keoshi is allergic to lines, so I still dunno why we decided to get in, but we did – after 5 minutes waiting it was already too late to go back on that decision so we just stayed. After an hour or so we got to the inside of the Reichstag; we were given a headset thingy and we could hear all about Berlin and the Reichstag building, while we walked along the spiral path inside the Reichstag Dome, giving us a nice overall 360º view of the city.
We learned about the symbolism of the dome – that the people are above the government – and about it’s environmental friendly design. It uses the daylight shining through the mirrored cone as energy for the building, decreasing its carbon emissions. Berlin seems to be a very environmental friendly city and its building designs reflect that. 

So we left the Reichstag and off to a walk along the Straße des 17.Juni spotting the Siegessäule…but not quite. They were cleaning the thing so we could barely see it because of all the structures around it. 

We were tired. Very tired. So we rode the bus, stopping in Unter den Liden and walked again to Alexanderplatz. It was already nighttime  and we decided to have something to eat: currywurst and beer – we were trying to blend in.
First a very normal beer and then the star of the show, in my humble opinion: dunkel beer. Delicious, delicious, delicious. Very cold, huge, and with a slight taste of what reminded me of lychees – but I suppose it’s just the malty nature of the beer. 

(I noticed that wikipedia gives the Sagres Bohemia as an example of a dunkel beer… one word dudes: not.)

At 11 pm we noticed that the crowd was leaving the place and everything else around was closing down…so it was time to head back to the comfy hotel bed.