Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Honeymoon- Day 18- Berlin to Bamberg

Today is our reserved day and time to visit the Reichstag dome, which takes about thirty minutes just to get through security and screening, but is well worth it.

The mirrored cone in the center of the dome isn't just a work of art, but has a function.  It directs sunlight into the building to increase energy efficiency.


The dome was constructed in 1993 as a symbol of the reunification of Germany.  
There is a 360 degree view at the top.  Although the top is open, it is like a greenhouse up here.


Uh oh, Eric is starting to melt!



Before saying our goodbyes, we had coffee and treats at a fancy cafe attached to a fancy hotel.


Green light, go.
We are headed to Bamberg.  Kimmie and Lea are going to the zoo before their flight tonight (their flight that was supposed to be tonight, but was delayed over 48 hours... yes, hours).

I searched for small German cities on the route to France that would be worth stopping at for a night.
Bamberg was a clear choice.  
It has been recorded in history since 902, home to bishops and princes.  The first book printed in German was printed in Bamberg in 1459.  It became the center of the Enlightenment period in the 1700s in Southern Germany.  



This is what I am talking about.  
An authentic German dinner in a quaint restaurant.
Of course, this means that there was little for me to eat, besides potato soup and bread, but at least Eric has his choice of meats.



Handsome view.





The day wouldn't be complete without Eric playing on a child's zip line at the park.
Europe has yet to take out their dangerously fun playground toys like we have done in the States.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Honeymoon- Day 17- Berlin

Our first order of business today is to visit the Berlin Wall Monument, which is right next to where the wall used to be, as well as a tower used by the East to protect the wall.


The wall is seemingly so erratic because, as they went through cities, they had to go around buildings, railroads, cemeteries...


Before the wall was erected, which occurred in one day according to reports, tens of thousands of people protested.

In an attempt to prevent people from jumping over the wall they put up nail beds on the other side.  But this is the nothing in comparison to all of the people incarcerated or shot in an attempt to get to West Berlin.  The museum highlights stories of the people crossing, or helping others cross, along with their fate.  People will do anything for freedom.

At the top of the Berlin Wall Monument there is a view, from the West to the East.


Berlin is famous for its pedestrian crosswalk signals.
In fact, we found an entire souvenir shop devoted to just this, crosswalk men. 




This will be our album cover, if we ever get an international band going.

Kimmie and Lea went to the apartment for down time, which we (I) don't believe in, so we went on to the Topography of Terror museum.  The museum documents an earlier part of history, during the rise and fall of the Nazi regime.  It is A LOT of information, so much so that after reading the entire timeline of history outside, we had no desire to go inside to learn more.  Our brains are on Berlin overload.  It is amazing how much history has happened here.

Ugh, Checkpoint Charlie.  Don't even get me started.  
There is a museum, which is supposed to be interesting, but the actual checkpoint is now the location of "American" troops posing with tourists.  I just couldn't do it.

The rest of our day was spent walking around, admiring architecture, and everything the walls have witnessed.






Monday, July 2, 2018

Honeymoon- Day 16- Berlin

We were at Salon de Restaurant Paul when they opened at 7:00 for coffee and pastries.  
The pastries were exceptional.  It makes me so excited for French food!

Belgium: 
Walk.
Train.
Plane.

Germany:
Bus.  
Tram.
Walk.

Kimmie!
We started our Berlin experience at the Bradenburg Gate, the only remaining Berlin city gate from the 1700s, the gate that Hitler walked through after he gained power in 1933, the location where Reagan gave his "tear down this wall" speech... the list goes on.
A pretty iconic place to start.



It is the current (temporary) site of the World Cup viewing area.  
Mexico vs. Brazil. 

Visiting the dome at the Reichstag parliament building is free, with a reservation.  The soonest reservation we could get is in two days, at 8:30.  You can't beat free, so we made the reservation and went on our way.  Well, we went on our way while Kimmie and Lea went back to the apartment for bedtime.


Humboldt University of Berlin is considered one of the best universities in Europe.  
Fifty five Nobel Prize winners either studied or taught here.  

Albert Einstein taught here, before his teaching gig at Princeton.   

The pink German State Opera was bombed in 1941, rebuilt two years later, and then bombed again two years after that.


St. Hedwig's Church (1742), nicknamed the upside-down teacup.



Berlin is an interesting place to wander around.  So much history has happened in these beautiful buildings that currently house modern shops and cafes.  

You can't help but wonder what they were used for at one point, especially in the Topography of Terror area, where the Gestapo and the SS were centralized.  

This is the backside of the Anhalter Bahnof train station, where nearly 10,000 elderly men and women were deported from 1941 to 1945.

This is the front side of the station.  
Jews were deported in a third class, guarded car, because the train continued its regular services.  Most of these people went to Auschwitz.