Today did not get off to a great start. I was suffering from the collywobbles during the night, which is a very rare event – my digestion is usually bulletproof, to the extent that Jean says she’s going to leave it to science! Must have been something to do with the meal I ate last night.
Unfortunately, this meant I was well below par today, to the extent that I was unable to go on the Berlin by Night tour in the evening. Very disappointing, but Jean went and had a good time.
I was determined not to let this stop me achieving something, so the first port of call was the really rather peculiar monument to the murdered Jews of Europe. It’s just a mass of grey concrete slabs called stelae. Me neither.
There is an exhibition underneath it, which we didn’t have time to visit as we had our trip to the dome above the Reichstag to do.
This was next. Through the inevitable security check (thank goodness I’d left my Swiss Army knife behind), then through the grand entrance to the building itself.
Up in a lift, and then commenced the walk up the Sir Norman Foster-designed dome – a gradual helical path accompanied by a very good audio guide. Some excellent views.
You can hopefully see from the picture above that there is a circular display of posters around the roof of the plenary chamber. This was really interesting, as it told the story of how the German system of government moved from regional areas to an empire (the Reichstag was built for the Emperor), which ended in 1918 to become the Weimar Republic. This fell into wrack and ruin, allowing Hitler to seize control in 1933.
It then took us through the partitioning of Germany after World War II, the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall, through to the present day. Really well done.
And now for something completely different……
A friend of Jean’s (thanks, Jan Fuller) had mentioned a very upmarket department store at the western edge of West Berlin, about 3 km away. No way was I walking this – my knees were still suffering after yesterday’s slogathon – so we braved a bus. Everything was fine until it was time to get off, when the bus doors slammed shut just as we were about to disembark, so we had to get off at the next one. No matter.
One of the attractions of this store was supposed to be a top-notch delicatessen. Food was the last thing I wanted, but we ascended to the seventh floor to have a look anyway.
It was indeed mighty impressive – a huge range of meats, cheeses and foodstuffs in general. However, what I really needed was a rest, so we plonked ourselves down wearily in front of what we thought was a tea-bar. It was, in fact, somewhere to sample a particularly posh brand of tea using a Nespresso style machine, so I blagged a cup of something or other. It took AGES and was no more than adequate, but we got a break. Jean thought she was going to get a sample, but it didn’t happen immediately. After a while, we just gave up and caught the bus back to Unter den Linden, then walked to the hotel.
I was feeling pretty rough at this point, so I took a much-needed kip.
We agreed that it was OK for Jean to go on the Berlin By Night tour whilst I had a long, hot shower and went to bed early. Here are some of Jean’s pictures of her night out, which she enjoyed.
Early-ish start tomorrow for our Panoramic Berlin coach tour. Let’s see how it goes.
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