on berlin day 2 …

1 Hop On Hop Off2A Berlin Wall2B Checkpoint Charlie3 Checkpoint Charlie

Our second day in Berlin was wonderfully full!  The weather has been in the high seventies—gorgeously beautiful and mild.  S/O and I paid for a “hop on/hop off” tour with a company that has some of those topless double-decker buses.  About seven or eight companies run similar types of tours in Berlin and their prices all roughly the same—15 euros (roughly $20 usd).  The girl who sold us the tickets showed us a map with the 15 or so sights that were included on the tour so we paid up and hopped on the bus.  After the first three sights passed we realized that the bus wasn’t stopping to let anyone off.  We began to get rather agitated and as were a number of other passengers.  When we finally stopped, S/O went up to the guide and asked about stops at which time the guide explained that the bus only stopped at six of the sights so we could “hop on/hop off” and because there were only two buses, if we hopped off, we’d have to wait for an hour and a half for the next bus!  As it happened, the bus actually looped around and returned to the starting point where we bought our tickets.  S/O got up and indicated that he wanted a refund as the sales pitch clearly didn’t give us all the details of the particulars in any adequate manner.  S/O began to get loud and scare off other potential customers after which the girl who sold us our tickets quickly gave him a refund.  I would have sucked up the cost as a loss and gotten on another line, but thankfully, S/O got us our $40 buckaroos back.  We chose another company (asked for the specific details) and spent the day hopping on and hopping of the open topped double-decker buses at numerous stops along the route.  When we got off, buses from the same company came along at about 15 minute intervals so we could spend as much or as little time at various stops as we wanted. 

 Berlin is an amazing city!  The streets are tree lined and the parts of the city that were formerly part of East Berlin have been rebuilt and redeveloped so the city is amazingly modern and sparklingly new!  Among the things that we stopped to see were Checkpoint Charlie, the Alexanderplatz (which was the center of East Berlin and which as a huge TV tower similar to the Pearl Tower in Shanghai or the CN Tower in Toronto), the Brandenburg Gate, and the Reichstag (which is the German capitol building).

4 Alexanderplaz Berlin Day 2 0015 Brandenburg Gate6 Michael Jackson Baby Hanging Hotel7 Girl at Holocaust Memorial

 As I have a “thing” for going up high to see views, we looked into going up the TV Tower, but the wait for entrance was more than two hours long so we took a pass.  We had a nice lunch at a sidewalk café instead, then continued our touring.  Adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate, we got to see the Alcon Hotel where Michael Jackson (RIP, Michael …) held is baby out the window, and we got to see a pretty amazing monument to victims of the Holocaust that consisted of over two thousand five hundred concrete blocks set out over a huge city block.  As you walk through the blocks the ground dips down so that you disappear.  From the top, the effect is that as you look over the memorial space you watch people entering the space “disappear” and get swallowed up in an instant.  It is an amazingly powerful feeling when you finally understand what the memorial’s designer was trying to achieve!!!  The Reichstag has a huge glass domed cupola that is supposed to have amazing views, but the wait to enter was very long so we decided to move on and return tomorrow to do the climb up into the dome.

We finished the tour then walked through Germany’s largest department store called Ke De We.  They have a renowned food court on the glass enclosed top floor so S/O and I shared a HUMONGOUS piece of plum torte that was absolutely scrumptious (and very inexpensive!!!)!

 

We took a short afternoon nap then went out for a nice heavy German dinner.  So good!!!

I do have to say, I normally am quite the pack rat.  I over pack for everything and I always have a bag of crap that I carry that has “stuff that I need.”  Well I forgot to pack my little bag so I’ve just been sticking my little camera in the pocket of my cargo shorts along with my cell phone and wallet.  Boy is it nice not to have to carry and keep track of all of my crap!!!  I think I’m done carrying bags and backpacks when I travel!!!  Cargo shorts, people!!! Cargo shorts!!! 

It was a great day!  Beautiful weather, wonderful city, delicious food!! What more could you want???

I know … World Peace … But I mean besides that … What more could you want???

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