Thursday, August 6, 2009

Berlin day 1 Mon afternoon

Day 27 Mon. 3. Aug. 2009

The train station was HUGE with at least 5 levels, all new looking with nice escalators going both up and down (no carrying my suitcase up or down stairs here). It was pretty easy to figure out where to get the right Bahn-train. There is the S-bahn (I thought sky train, but the S stands for schnell - which is quick) and the U-bahn which does stands for underground - though sometimes the U-bahn is above ground and sometimes the S-bahn is below ground...

There was a mix of old buildings in-between lots of very modern buildings. There seemed to be a lot of glass and shiny metal. You could see the radio tower from many spots of the city - one of the communist "presences" left in Berlin.

I went to the Modern Art Museum (called Berlinische Galerie) partly because on the 1st Mon. of the month is is only 2 euros to get in (most museums range from 5-12 euros for entrance, a euro is about $1.45), but also because I like modern art. This sculpture was outside of it. It was quite crowded, I arrived about 4:00 so I suppose people left work early or came after work - it didn't seem to be a lot of tourists. There was an interesting special exhibit which I liked better than the permanent collection which was upstairs.

After leaving that museum I had planned to go up to the main street - Unter Den Linden, to go to the Duetches Guggenheim but when I got there it was closed as they were changing their exhibit. I walked down to this large square which has the opera house, and had a bratwurst from a stand near-by.

I decided to take the 100 Bus that I had read was a great route to ride to see many of the main sites. It went down the Unter Den Linden and I got a seat on the top level (along with all the other tourists). We went down past the Brandenburg Gate which was very impressive and past the Reichstag - the German government buildings, and through the Tiergarten park. Then we got to the very busy square and right in the middle is this church that is still in ruins that was obviously bombed in the war and they have left the remains as a reminder.

The modern bits around it are a new church and I tried to take a picture to show the beautiful blue glass of which it is made. The picture is blurry because it was such a long exposure that I couldn't hold still for but you get the idea.

After getting to the end of the line I figured out where to get the bus back towards the center - I didn't want to take the U-bahn if I could help it, and made my way back towards my hostel. Here I am staying at the same chain of hostels that I stayed in in Vienna. When I had checked in I was the first in my room which held 6 but I expected others to be there when I returned and they were.

I had these three German girls as roommates for one night, they were fun to talk to and told me of some places to go to as they had been in Berlin before. Then another girl checked in later - she actually lived across the street but her parents who had been visiting left with her keys! Her other roommates were not there and would be back the next day so she was stuck for the night. She was very nice - a French girl working in a science lab for 6 months doing a masters. They all left the next day and my other roommmates ended up arriving at the same time I returned the next night at about midnight - another group of 5 American girls traveling together.

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