(Join Tales Told From The Road as its month-long virtual European journey continues.)
After yesterday’s excursion into what was once the Communist East Berlin, we’ll tour the western side of the German capital.
Heading down Kurfürstendamm (aka “Ku’damm”) brings us to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Unlike the Frauenkirche in Dresden whose World War II bomb damage has been repaired, the KWM Church has been deliberately left in its wrecked state.
But a beautiful mosaic ceiling is still intact, and a modern church was built next to the original, with a courtyard in between where we’ll encounter a vendor selling dried fruit.
While “East Berlin” has a decidedly mid-20th century feel, sculpture and street art along the Ku’damm shows that “West Berlin” clearly belongs to the post-millennium era.
You can shop for clothes and a variety of other goods at the KaDeWe department store. But what will really catch you eye here is food “to go” in the store’s gourmet culinary department, or to eat in its restaurants.
It may not all be happening at the zoo in Berlin, but just as in other cities around the globe, hanging out with animals hanging out with other members of their species is one way to spend an afternoon on that city’s west side.
And while East German female Olympic athletes reportedly had a competitive edge due to the use of steroids, none were likely to have undergone an at-home DIY face-lift using Botox bought at a Berlin store on the way home from the gym.
Alas, Berlin is a large, sprawling city, with lots to see and do. Here are some things we might do and places we might visit on our next trip, thanks to recommendations from a “local”:
- Reichstagskuppel, the dome in the German Parliament Building, at dusk,
- Mauergedänkstätte, Berlin Wall Memorial. Climb the tower to get a good view of the other side. Museum is good, too, but can be skipped.
- Ride along the Unter den Linden boulevard in a bicycle rickshaw. Nice and slow, includes tour guide.
- Pergamonmuseum in the Museumsinsel (“Museum Island”) in Mitte (central Berlin). A must is the Ischtar Gate with its mind blowing Boulevard. Ticket lets you get out and back in for a coffee break at Monbijou Park via S-Bahn Bögen.
- Bunkerberg in Humboldthain. Fantastic and unusual view of Berlin and a nice nature walk.
- Pedalboat rides on the Plötzensee. Absolutly no tourists.
- Märchenbrunnen (fairy tale fountain) in Volkspark Friedrichshain. Nice café right behind the fountain on the main park path.
Tomorrow: South to Munich