After spending a perfect day in München, I took a direct city night line (CNL) from Munich to Berlin and reached Berlin around 8 am. CNL couchettes are meant for sleeping only and doesn’t have any provisions for charging mobiles. The rough idea of places to visit was made previously following this article. The city was explored using Hop on – Hop off bus ticket. The one day ticket is best for exploring this historic city in limited time. I started the tour to the city by visiting the Reichstag building (German parliament). I couldn’t visit the dome as I couldn’t get a reservation. Reservations are mandatory even though it is free to visit. After taking a few selfies I moved through the Tier garden which is a well maintained beautiful city garden. The city is full of memorials of the Nazi past. The monument dedicated to the memorial to the Sinti and Roma on way to Brandenburg Gate (city gate) through the garden. From there I hop on to the bus and visited the Berlin wall. “Antifascistischer Schutzwall,” or “antifascist bulwark,” between East and West Berlin stood for 30 years dividing the city as a symbol of cold war. The surviving section of this wall hems in the Topographie des Terrors (Topography of Terror). The terror museum was really a lesson on history of the country’s suffering under the Nazi and Hitler regimes. There is a library of the Topography of Terror Foundation, special library focusing on the police, SS, Gestapo in the Third Reich and on the National Socialism in general. Using the Hop on – Hop off bus the next destination was Check Point Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie (or “Checkpoint C”) was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin, during the Cold War. The Haus am Checkpoint Charlie (Checkpoint Charlie Museum) brings in another history lesson through its presentation of the many ways in which people tried to escape East Germany, and aims to bring that period of history to life and ensure that it is not forgotten. The next destination was Gendarmenmarkt square which was a marketplace and part of the city’s Western expansion of Friedrichstadt. Deutscher Dom (German Church) is best known as one of the three buildings which make up the spectacular ‘trinity ensemble’ in the Gendarmenmarkt square in Mitte including its twin the Französische Dom (French Cathedral) and the Konzerthaus (Concert Hall). Since 1992 a German Parliament exhibition can be seen at Deutscher Dom entitled “Wege, Irrwege and Umwege” roughly translated as “Paths, Loosing Track and Detours” or the development of parliamentary democracy in Germany – ways and roundabouts. The Französischer Dom has a stairwell where you can climb the 284 steps to the viewing balustrade around the tower, offering panoramic views of the Gendarmenmarkt and Berlin’s historic city centre. The Französchischer Dom is also home to an old library and the archives of the French parish which are open to students and researchers. The Konzerthaus is a concert hall housing the German orchestra Konzerthausorchester Berlin. The next place of visit was Berlin Cathedral and museum square. Since I had so much of history lesson I skipped entering the museums.
The rest of afternoon I spend in the Tier garden. Once a hunting ground of the Electors of Brandenburg the Großer Tiergarten Park of today was designed in the 1830s by landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné. It is a park of great beauty with diverse landscapes to discover as one wanders its avenues, pathways, lawns, meadows, ponds, flower beds – the rhododendrons in bloom are legendary – and landscaped gardens. Benches are tucked away for quiet contemplation. Walking through this I reached the riverside near the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. I went to the beautiful river side where I spend the evening by walking on the beautiful banks of the River Spree. There are places to sit and enjoy the beauty of river. This beautiful riverside walk is very refreshing in spite of the cold breeze.
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