Saturday, October 02, 2004

Berlin, Germany—Day 245

Perhaps I spoke too soon about not appreciating the morning hang over. Today we woke at the very satisfying hour of noon (perhaps a record on my part—maybe the hangover helped a little) and spent the entire day touring Berlin. We met at Nina’s apartment and after her amazing lunch that she prepared us (rivaling yesterday’s lunch at the Italian place) we headed out on a grand walking tour of Berlin.

We started in Friedrichstrasse, walked along the river “Spree” and headed to the Reichstag, where the government resides. Near there is the Brandenburger tor (the gate to the city which was completely closed for decades—representing the division between the East and the West parts of Berlin—now a symbol for the reunification of Germany) which we passed on the way to the Potsdamer Platz, an area that was left basically deserted before the Wall came down and is now a pretty glitzy, up-and-coming area. The great thing about this weekend is that it is the 15th anniversary of the reunification of Germany (October 3rd is the actual day) so all weekend Germans are celebrating, which meant that there were bands playing near the tor and lots of wonderful stalls selling crepes and other goodies.

We then walked back to look at the new Holocaust monument that is being constructed near the Brandenburger tor and then headed to Fridrichstrasse to get take a café break after almost four hours of straight walking!

After resting our feet, we were off again and headed to Bebelplatz (the famous square where Nazi students burned almost 20,000 books in 1933), saw the old Staatsbibiliothek and walked over to Museuminsel (Museum Island) and saw the Berliner Dom which had quite, er, interesting scenery (we saw a man with no pants—is that common here Nina?!?)

We then walked through Hackesher Markt and went all the way to Prenzelaerberg to meet up with Katharina for dinner at her apartment, which was excellent, and then headed to see her friend play in a band at this tiny crazy little club which was great. Nothing like 20 somethings with Euro-chic comb-overs smoking and playing the guitar, that is for sure. We then said goodbye to Katharina for the night and met up again with Nina to dance the night away.