Berlin’s young vibe and gritty ambience, not to mention its state of the art train station, prompted a second visit to this fascinating city. The 6 hour train ride from Bergen to Oslo and the transfer to our overnight ride from Oslo to Copenhagen by sea went swimmingly. We boarded our train in Copenhagen and came into Germany by sea, train and all. That was something!
Due to a technical difficulty and a bit of a wait, we transferred trains upon arriving on German soil, taking us to Hamburg where we failed to make our connection to Berlin. Good thing trains run frequently between the two cities! We arrived in Berlin 2 hours later than planned and promptly went to bed! Or, at least, I did. My tireless husband opted for an evening walk around the neighbourhood. I marvel at his energy and wish I could find a way to bottle it up and market it. I’d make a fortune.
We’re settled in the elegant Myer’s Hotel and dined at the Reichstag (German Parliament) for a delicious lunch. Last time we visited the Reichstag, a young man approached the gate with his “Heil Hitler” and arm raised in the tell-tale gesture and was quickly whisked away by half a dozen armed police. Security around the Reichstag is tight. All that to say, admission into the restaurant meant a reservation months in advance, an airport-type security process and a triple secure room transfer before we could “wait to be seated.” Getting out was nearly as rigorous.
Berlin is a city of monuments and Germans are sensitive about their terrible 21st century war history. The slate slab in the photo below memorializes the politicians who opposed Hitler and were murdered for their resistance. Just beyond the parliament lawn stand a Jewish monument of varying sizes of granite blocks and from the highest point of the Reichstag, many of the city’s monuments shape the skyline.
On a lighter note, Gord asks me often if I think I will see anyone I know. Well today, I did. 3 years ago, while visiting the Brandenburg Gate, we met a fellow who works at the US Embassy. He waxed eloquent about southern style ribs (and food in general) and recommended an Indian restaurant that we enjoyed very much. When we recalled our last encounter he laughed and made another recommendation, which we intend to check out tomorrow. He invited us to report back on our experience. I hope to take his photo if he agrees and introduce you. He’s worked for the US Embassy in Berlin since 1981, through the fall of the wall and all the city’s growth and change. I encouraged him to write a book and he’s considering it. Not because I said he ought to, by the way.
The photos are a bit muddled — not in any kind of order. The hotel is an art gallery on the side so the statue stands in the garden. The character reminds me of a rather naked Puddleglum in the Narnia Chronicles. The “No Fake Jews” poster promotes an upcoming play produced by a Jewish theatre company. The train photo is taken on the ferry.