It was a nice sunny day in Berlin and we decided to take advantage and do the tourist loop. We started by going through the Berlin Hauptbahnhof which is a huge main train station. It was redone for the world cup and has 5 or so levels of train lines, shops, restaurants and more...and it feels nice and open and modern. It's good to be back in Berlin. Without the summer tourists the city feels a lot different, a bit more normal and less frantic. We've been wearing a jumper and a jacket here in the daytime too, layering up to stop the cold.
From there we walked across the river to the Reichstag which is the main government building in Germany, as usual the line was too long so we didn't go in. Julia had recommended we wait and do it at night time anyway. We checked out the Brandenburg gate which had a crane over it which was a bit annoying, but it looks so much better than last year now they have started to clean it.
From the gate it's only a short walk to the Holocaust memorial which I think is one of the best memorials/art installations I've been to. It's a grid of concrete blocks of varying heights and the ground is uneven over the whole space, so you get quite disoriented and confused when walking through the middle of it. Good for photography too.
We walked down the Potsdamer Platz, the Topography of Terrors and then on to Checkpoint Charlie getting our World War II fix. By that point it had clouded over so it was freezing cold, especially in the wind so we went home for a bit.
Julia and I went to a fondue place for dinner which was amazing. A nice little restaurant at the northern end of Mitte with staff who know their shit. You tell them what kind of wine you like and they bring a few bottles for you to try, then you pick which one you'd like. And they fill the glass all the way to the top. We had a mixed meat fondue which was turkey, beef, pork, chicken and prawns which you cook in an oil pot and eat with sauce. We also had a swiss cheese, white wine & a spirit, (maybe cointreau) fondue with bread. I had a really good night learning about Berlin, getting pronunciation lessons and I ate the perfect amount, winner.
One thing that I have picked up on this time in Berlin is the.community and the way people speak to each other. Even though I have no idea what they're saying to each other, strangers speaking to each other sound like they're old friends. It seems to be a much more open and communicative culture.