After we recharged a bit at the hostel we headed to the Reichstag again so we could go up on the roof terrace at night. It was absolutely amazing, although I was sad we couldn’t get inside the dome, it was still really cool to be able to see the city from the top of the building at night. After our trip to the Reichstag we caught our midnight bus back to Praha and arrived back home at around 5:30a. I then proceeded to sleep, all day!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Our first morning in Berlin we woke up pretty early so we could see as much as possible. We ate a small breakfast at the hostel and then headed on our way for the day. We took the Bus 100 from Alexanderplatz, the bus 100 is a double decker bus that goes by most of the major sights in Berlin. We took the bus to the Reichstag, which is the German Parliament building. It was heavily destroyed during WW II and has been renovated by Norman Foster, so I definitely wanted to see it because it is one of my favorites of his. After we walked around the Reichstag we made our way to the Bradenburg gate just across the street. After we spent some time wandering around the gate and taking photos, we headed towards Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial. Another must see on my list. This memorial is insanely powerful and overwhelming all at once. It is a square block of concrete rectangles that vary in size and height. As your walking through it the ground begins to slope and the boxes start to get taller, it creates a really disorienting feeling and you kind of don’t know how to get out.
After wandering through there we walked to Potsdamer Platz, which is an area of Berlin that was completely destroyed during WWII. It is now made up of all modern buildings and skyscrapers, and I’m really not a fan of any of them. They also had an exhibit in the plaza about the 20 year anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. After spending some time here we made our way to Checkpoint Charlie, which was the area where you crossed between the American and Soviet occupation of Berlin. After grabbing a quick lunch of kebabs, we then headed to the Jewish Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind. This was something that I have wanted to see for a really long time, mainly just because the building is so completely amazing and Libeskind is one of my favorite architects. The building did not disappoint, although the information in the museum wasn’t the best exhibit.
After the museum we headed back to hang out at the hostel for a little while and get ready for dinner. That night we were set on eating German food, so we asked the hostel and set out for a really cool part of town, this little art district. We found a small little pub called The Bottom and drank some hefeweizen. I ordered wiener schnitzel, and it was delicious. After a few beers and dinner, me and Patricia split an apfel streudel that was to die for. We were at dinner until almost 11, so I was tired and headed back to the hostel to rest up for our next day of adventures.
The next morning we found a really adorable coffee shop to eat breakfast at and get a coffee. This day was really sunny and pretty warm, we were all in such good spirits because of it also. After breakfast we headed towards the East Side Gallery, which is the largest existing piece of the Berlin Wall. After the wall fell, they left this part up and invited artists to paint on it, since that has faded everyone adds their own graffiti or quotes to it.
After we walked along the gallery we all split up. Me and Patricia headed to Museuminsel to go to the Altes and Pergamon Museums. The Altes Museum is the museum that the Nelson Atkins is modeled after, so I had to see it with my own two eyes, and the Pergamon Museum housed the Ishtar Gate from ancient Babylon, another thing I had to see for myself. Both of these are things we studied forever in History of Architecture, so it was very cool to see them in person. For lunch me and Patricia decided to get a typical German dish of curry wurst, although it wasn’t very good, at all. It was probably just the restaurant we were at. After lunch we decided to walk all over Berlin, literally. We walked so much, but it was a beautiful day so I didn’t really mind. After we got tired of walking we went back to our hostel to get our luggage, check our e-mail, and just hang out for a little bit before leaving.