Now that I’m (almost!) caught up on sleep and don’t have to worry about running out of internet time, I wanted to finish adding comments to these photos from our whirlwind tour of the city.
The building above is the Reichstag, which is the meeting place of the German parliament. It is in an area of Berlin called Tiergarten where all the government buildings and embassies are located.
Walking through a small park on our way to the Brandenburg Gate several people were tempted by this pretzel vendor!
The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most well-known landmarks in Berlin, as you can see from the number of tourists congregated here. The Segways were kind of cool but rather obnoxious, as the tour leader rides ahead on a bicycle ringing the bell to make all the other tourists jump out of their way.
These two images are from the Holocaust Memorial, which was designed by American architect Peter Eisenman and dedicated in 2005. As our tour guide noted, it was designed to be an interactive site, where people can wander through at their own pace and derive their own interpretation of its meaning.
The above photo is near a section of the wall that has been preserved as a memorial and contains a small museum.
Near this memorial we saw the beginning of the copper line that was to follow the old line of demarcation throughout the city, but it only went a few hundred feet before the designers realized the cost would be prohibitive. You can still follow the line all the way around, but the remainder of it is marked by a double row of cobblestones as you can see in the foreground of the photo below.
The original Checkpoint Charlie was dismantled in 1990, but has since been rebuilt as part of a museum. It is now a major tourist attraction, complete with a guy dressed up like a soldier from the old Berlin Brigade selling replica Visa stamps. I was actually here in 1985 when the wall was still standing, so I never got a view of this checkpoint like the one below looking from the former East German side. Of course it would have looked a little different then. How sad that the first thing you see now across from the “You are Entering the American Sector” sign is a huge McDonald’s.
Thanks to Bill Van Ess for taking this photo of me next to one of the more colorful pieces of the wall that are preserved and displayed around the city as memorials.