When in Potsdam we discovered the public transport-system, including Potsdam, Berlin and every means of transport within the area, be it bus, tram, underground or train. All for one day-ticket, for an everyway acceptable price of € 7,70 per person. Well, did we use it, even twice recently! Only going up-and-down from Potsdam to Berlin is already cheap for this money.
Arriving at Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Hauptbahnhof) is really impressive. It’s the largest train-station with crossing tracks of Europe and it shows.
An impression of berlin’s subway.
For several reasons, it’s close to where we arrived besides the fact that this is one of the best known buildings in the world –for bad and good reasons alike- the first thing we did was walk towards the Reichstagsgebäude (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_building) dating from 1894.
Whether on purpose or inevitable, one’s impressed by the building itself, the words ‘Dem Deutschen Volke’ and the gigantic flag. The German national anthem, by the way, is the most beautiful one we know of. Listen once more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCdP_E5Rc5Y.
What’s next? Of course the Brandenburger Tor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_Gate). Here it (Tor = neutral, according to our German-Dutch dictionary) is, partly obscured by something to do with the 2018 FIFA World Cup. More about the latter later on.
Brandenburger Tor’s quadriga in detail. We know you know it, but we had to do it. Read about quadriga’s by using this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadriga.
On the east-side of the Brandenburger Tor (Pariser Platz – Unter den Linden) it’s possible to rent a horse-drawn carriage (we saw one even without horses – that’s cheating!). That’s not all that special, except when we see a carriage that is drawn by a pair of Frisian horses – our all-time favourite (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friesian_horse). They appeared to look smaller than usual, reason we initially thought to see a pair of Fell ponies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fell_pony). The charming lady, pictured as well, assured us that it is a pair of Friesians. She did not object against us making a picture. Maybe you’d think that is normal, but most of the other carriages had a message on them, pointing out that a picture only could be made after paying € 2,00. How do you check that, for heaven’s sake???
One of the first things we wanted to see (feel?) was the former Berlin Wall. According to our information Bernauer Straße is the place where more information is to be found. So that’s where we went…
Detail of the last picture (I)
Detail of the last picture (II) The left picture, from 1961, seems to depict a soldier stepping on the barbed wire, thus...
Detail of the last picture (II)
...making his way free to flee(???). On the left the history over the years 1961-1990 is portrayed. Highly dramatic.
Reading the news
This boy, around 12/13 years in 1961, must now be around 70. How will he look back upon his life?
Building the wall
While the wall was under construction young people could only watch it – powerless.
The sign in front of this remainder of the wall tells us ‘The district of Mitte (a Berlin district, ed.) erected a three-meter-high inner wall between Strelitzer and Brunnenstrasse around 1975. It was the first obstacle from the East Berlin side and blocked the border strip from view. It was torn down in 1990, but some meters were left standing.’
Straße ‘The courtyard in the Strelitzer Straße 55 marked the end of a 140-m-lomg escape tunnel which young West Berliners, most of them students who had fled the GDR (DDR, ed.), had begun to dig under the wall and the border fortifications on 10 April 1964. The exit from the tunnel on the West Berlin side was in the cellar of a disused bakery at Bernauer Straße 47.
Fifty-seven (57) people succeeded in reaching West Berlin in the night of 3 to 4 October 1964. An informer betrayed the escape plan to the State Secucurity of the GDR in the night of 5 October. The entrance to the tunnel was discovered. The 21-year old border guard Egon Schultz suffered fatal injuries…’ (etc). For the full story read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egon_Schultz.
Former position of the wall (I)
Still discoverable is the historic position of the...
Former position of the wall (II)
...wall, both on the ground and in the form of iron poles.
Another point of interest, related to WW II, is the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church), mostly referred to as Gedächtniskirche. We did not find anything else than de very spot and made a picture of it. Again, for more see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_Wilhelm_Memorial_Church.
Our next subject of interest, for this time that is, was the Schloss Charlottenburg (Palace Charlottenburg), named after Sophie Charlotte von Hannover (1668 – 1705). She was the first Queen consort of Prussia and the wife of King Friedrich I. We visited the inside of the old part of the palace and thought it to be highly interesting and stunningly beautiful. When walking around we discovered that one has to pay extra to be allowed to make pictures. So we didn’t. For more about this interesting palace and its history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlottenburg_Palace.
Everywhere inside one sees the initials SC. She died of pneumonia when only 36 years of age. Read about her using this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_Charlotte_of_Hanover. She was a real remarkable woman! The statue, in front of the palace, depicts Friedrich Wilhelm I. (1688 – 1740). He was the son of both parents as described with the picture before this one and became known as ‘the soldier-king’. It’s just too much to go into detail, so there we go again: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_William_I_of_Prussia.
Alexanderplatz, another place of interest – if only because we wanted to visit an ‘Oil and Vinegar’-store. It is such a huge shopping-centre nowadays that looking for an information-desk is the first thing to do. We did that indeed and were glad, too, cause we’d never found the shop without help. It appeared we had to go to the reddish building in the centre background of this picture. Who would have known??
The 2018 FIFA Worldcup to end with now. The Straße des 17. Juni, between the Siegessäule (Victory column) and the Brandenburger Tor was renamed ‘Fanmeile’, a pun based on the English expressions/words ‘fanmail’ and ‘mile’ – at least that’s what we concluded. There were (at least?) five huge screens...
...grandstands, numbered places, food- and drink-kiosks – you name it. Totally unexpected the German team had to go home after the preliminaries. Links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straße_des_17._Juni and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Victory_Column.
We’ve read about it before; tradesmen organise events or buy stuff hoping they can make some profit, based upon the success of the national (football)team. Well, the bowl-bar probably has to get rid of its perishable...
...goods, the ‘fanparaphernalia’-shop admittedly is not going to realise huge winnings but can, at least, store its goods pending the next opportunity. (Changing the national colours is not likely…) That was Berlin. For now.