Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 16

Today was our first full day in Berlin, and it was snowing a little when we left which was so pretty. We started off by going to the Reichstag to go into the copula. The copula wasn't rebuilt until the early 2000's and inside was beautiful, if you climb to the top you can look down into parliament. I did not actually make the climb all of the way up because I have a really bad fear of heights but I still enjoyed going and learning about all of the history involved.
After visiting the Reichstag we walked over to the Brandenburg gate which was originally the entrance to Berlin and was also the  entrance to East Berlin after the wall went up. Following the Brandenburg gate we walked to the Berlin Holocaust memorial. The memorial was made up of 278 tomb like stone blocks that have no names or religious symbols on them, and are that way to represent the nameless victims of the holocaust. The memorial is also built in a wave-like pattern to represent the unpredictable nature of life and of what could happen at any time. I found it interesting that the memorial was not finished until May 5, 2005. There is an underground museum and information center beneath the memorial. It is not a huge museum but it is also very informative and effective.
When we had all completed walking through the museum we went to get lunch in a steak house. Lunch was very good, and it was interesting to see a German take on a steakhouse.
We walked around what was East Berlin for a while and on our way to the Berlin wall memorial we stopped in what was a ghost station during the cold war. It was interesting to learn that during the cold war many subway stations were literally cemented closed.
The Berlin wall memorial had a few pieces of intact wall along with a memorial to the people who were killed attempting to cross into West Germany. The Berlin wall memorial appeared to be minimal but I think that may be because of the snow covering some of the exhibits.                    
For dinner we ate Prussian food, I got two fried sausages potatoes and sauerkraut. I have never really had sauerkraut before and I decided to try it, it was good but I didn't eat too much of it because it seemed like a kind of strong flavor  to me, however the sausage and potatoes and gravy was amazing.

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