On our second day in Berlin, Stefan headed off to the Technical University to give a talk, and Elias and I walked through the Tiergarten to the Siegessäule.
The bottom part of the column is covered with detailed mosaics.
It's 285 steps to the top (295 if you count the steps on the outside). Can you see Alexanderplatz in the distance?
We continued through the Tiergarten, pausing at a robust German playground (built for lots of climbing, jumping, and what Americans might call "death trap" opportunities). Then on to the Spree, past government buildings, all the way to the Hauptbahnhof. The Hauptbahnhof is an arabesque of glass and steel. Note the Ritter Sport chocolate add running up the staircase.
We took a train to the Dahlem-Dorf stop, with Hanna and two dogs expertly joining us en route on the train. We left Elias with friends and went for a walk in the Grunewald, a huge wooded park on the southwest side of Berlin. There, polite dogs walk off-leash alongside their look-alike humans. The dogs nod their heads to one another as they pass, with very little barking or disorderly conduct. Along the lake, they neatly line up to chase sticks. As this often involves running into the lake, most of the polite off-leash dogs are wet.
Candace belongs to Hanna's roommate.
Ninja belongs to Hanna.
These two dogs dressed very much like their human, except their human was not wet.
Hanna and I met up with Stefan for dinner at a vegetarian restaurant (Seerose) near the Südstern U-Bahn station. Afterward, we took a walk through the neighborhood, which provided fodder for blog posts on puns and Berlinerisch.
Stefan headed back to Steinebach in the morning. I took the subway to Friederichsstrasse. Heading to the Museumsinsel, I passed a store that had lined all of its windows with antique sewing machines. Unfortunately, the store was still closed, so I could only take a photo from the outside. Liebe Schwester, this photo is for you.
A view of the Pergamon Museum...
And the Dom...
Some of the pieces in the Pergamon are ~2600-2700 years old.
2600-year-old glaze. Looks like some test tiles I've seen...
Our group of seven (two moms, 5 kids) had lunch together near the New Synagogue.
After lunch, we all took a hot hot train to Potsdam. Have I mentioned yet that Europe was dealing with a crop-destroying heat wave while we were there? No AC, no ceiling fans, no window screens, and millions of gleeful mosquitoes. (The mosquitoes weren't bad in Berlin, but they were awful in Steinebach and environs). There's a killing to be made in Germany with ceiling fans and screens.
The real attraction in Potsdam is Sanssouci, Frederick the Great's summer palace, but we didn't make it that far, opting instead for a boat tour that left from near the old market square. The square is in the process of being renovated. It was remarkably dead the day we were there. Note the mix of stately classical architecture and depressing Soviet-era utilitarian buildings.
Elias and I had most of Saturday to spend in Berlin before catching our train back to Steinebach. We started off by checking out a flea market near our Tiergarten hotel, then walking a few km to Schloss Charlottenburg (17th & 18th c.) to see the gardens. Charlottenburg and the abundant country residences we had seen from the boat the day before in Potsdam made us wonder whether governing was mainly a recreational activity to keep monarchs occupied between building projects.
By the 18th century, the monarchs had figured out that expansive grounds required an expansive tea house, so they added Belvedere beyond the carp pond.
After leaving the gardens, we walked to the Jungfernheide U-Bahn station. Each station has its own distinctive art.
Here is the fall of the Berlin wall, dramatically depicted in Legos. Watch all the way to the end for the full effect.
The Sony Center has a dramatic glass ceiling. It is the place to go if you want to be surrounded by American tourists.
With a little time left post-Legos, we took the U-Bahn to Friederischsstrasse and walked back toward the Hauptbahnhof.
Snazzy windows at the Pharmakologisches Institut.