Walls come tumbling down.
Well, staying next to the Brandenburg Gate has its advantages….we managed to have breakfast at Starbucks and get some great photos of the gate before the crowds turned up. It was a lovely sunny day for walking around, and it was nice to see the place waking up and folk dressed up in uniform positioning themselves in their places ready to become the tourist trap photo opportunities they obviously got good tips/donations for.
We then wandered down the road a bit and found ourselves at the striking Holocaust Memorial. It consists of a 5 acres site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The blocks are the same dimensions apart from they all vary in height from 8 in to 16ft !…. And it can seem quite confusing and disorientating when walking amongst them.
Mid morning we found ourselves taking a rest at a coffee shop in a famous Berlin department store. I guess it would be the equivilant of Harrods. The Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) is, at over 100 years old, a Berlin institution and apparently the largest department store in continental Europe.
Then we were off to Potsdamer Platz, which was a historic trading post and public square in Berlin’s history. After the initial opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Potsdamer Platz became one of the earliest locations where the Wall was “breached” to create a new border crossing between East and West Berlin. There was still a few slabs of the wall standing here as a temporary exhibition. Next, we were up to the top of the Parliment building. There is a glass dome on top of the building that you can go up and get a great view across the city.
After all this activity we decided to chill out back at the hotel pool and steam room. So after collecting our towels and locker keys we went and got changed into our swim shorts. When we got through to the steam room we were meet by an older couple leaving the sauna….NAKED !! So we quickly diverted our eyes and headed in to the steam room. Unfortunately for us though, it looked directly out on the shower and all we could see was the naked couple showering. The only thing I could think of was the line from the Naked Gun film, when Leslie Nielsen says to Pricilla …”Nice Beaver’ !! So there we were, trapped in a hot steam room by our over whelming Britishness, waiting for them to finish and leave. One good thing though…we probably sweated off the lunch and beer we’d had earlier while waiting.
Later that evening we wend to an unusual resturant called Dos Palillos, which has a sister restaurant in Barcelona, and the concept behind it is to provide traditional Japanese dishes in a tapas style. We had 13 courses of small tasting portions, and even ended up making our own sushi for one course.