Monday, November 15, 2010

Berlin of old

Armed with a little more historical understandings and knowledge of what this amazing city has to offer we were well versed in taking on the East today.
Catching the Berlin U-Bahn was an experience!  This underground was first constructed in 1901, the fifth in all of Europe.  We disembarked  just a short walk from Checkpoint Charlie, a former crossing point for the Allied Forces. Many a soul was lost here trying to escape from the East to the West. 

Checkpoint Charlie

From here we headed down Friedrichstrasse to Unter Den Linden, Berlin’s most fashionable street. This tree lined avenue evokes all that is Berlin, culminating in the magnificent Brandenburg Gate.  At this very point many significant historical events have transpired.  The Gate now stands keeping watch over many embassies and the famous Hotel Adlon.
In front of the Gate, modern buildings form a semi-circle around the Pariser Platz, a semi-circle only just completed as recently as 2008.  The last remaining gap was earmarked for the US embassy, but several years of the US going head to head with the Berlin Senate delayed the building.  So what were they arguing about?  The US Embassy effectively wanted Berlin’s most significant tourist attraction and historical strip to be moved in order to satisfy security requirements.  I mean, not much really!
Needless to say the US lost!


Next stop on our walking tour was through the Gate around the corner and there before us was the most mighty structure I have ever seen, the Reichstag.  Constructed in 1884, the building is a proud manifestation of the power of the Reich.  Destroyed by fire in 1933, bombed during WWII, it was finally transformed in 1994 into one of the most modern parliament buildings in the world. The marriage of old and new has been an architectural success story.

Brandenburg Gate
The time had come for our own little success story to head back home, this time on the more modern S-Bahn!

1 comment:

  1. It is amazing to think that Checkpoint Charlie and the Cold War was in our lifetime! And the fact that we can now go and visit such places with such freedom is incredible.

    Did you go to the museum near there dedicated to the time the Berlin Wall stood? To see some of ways and things people resorted to, to get to the West!

    It was an eye opener to see the stories there of how people did get out and the ones who died trying. Both brilliant and sad.

    Always in life there seems to be the laughter while the tears fall...the bittersweet thing thing that is life. Something these people teach us is worth fighting for.