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Monday, October 03, 2005

Berlin - Day 4

I'm ditching the trains and travelling by bus today. Bus 100 leaves from outside of the hotel and drops you off right at the attractions. No more spelunking through the underground for me.

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Here's a handy tourist trip. Now you could take the Hop-on-off tourist bus for €20 or you can utilise Berlin's existing bus service and take routes 100 or 200 (which the private companies basically follow) and it will cost you just €5.80 for the day.

First sight visited today was the Berliner Dom.

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This church was built between 1894 and 1905 in a baroque style with italian renaissance influences. It was supposed to be the Protestant answer to St Peters in Rome. It was damaged during WW2 with reconstruction only commencing in 1975. The church reopened in 1993. It should be noted that the rebuilt church is a modified simplier version of the original. There's a €5 entry fee but you get an view from the top of the dome.

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Behind the Dom are two examples of communist umm "socialist-realist" architecture of East Germany...the first in the Fernsehturm (TV tower) - The tower is 365m high and was built in 1969, there's an observation deck 200 meters up (entry is €7.50)

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and this wonderfully designed thing - don't you just love it's many shades of brown?
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That TV tower gets in the way of so many shots.

To the other side of the Dom is the home of the Egyptian Museum, the Altes Museum (I'll visit this when I return with Paalo at the end of November)
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In front of the museum is the area known as the Lustgarten it sits between the Dom and the Spree River.

On the banks of the Spree there's a lovely view towards the Zeughaus.
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The Zeughaus houses the German History Museum but was built in 1706 as an arsenal.


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This is the most attractive Schlossbrücke (Palace Bridge) - it crosses the River Spree and sits between the Lustgarten and Zeughaus and connects Unter den Linden with Schlossplatz. Built in 1824 the statues were added in 1853. They are made from carrara marble and depict greek mythology.

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Here's another of those fake facades that cover the scaffolding - it's looks pretty realistic and made me look twice.


Continuing down Unter den Linden I reached St Hedwigs-Kathedral. It's an usual design (along the lines of the Panthenon in Rome) and is the Catholic Cathedral of Berlin.
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Building started in 1747 and finished in 1778 - there were subsequent works in later years but it was damaged during the second world war and rebuilt from 1952-63. The inside was given a most hideous modern makeover - no photos were allowed inside so you've been spared seeing it.

Nearby is part of Humbolt University (comprises the Altes Bibliothek and Altes Palais) and it's located on Bebelplatz. Bebelplatz was the spot were on the 10th May 1933 the Nazi's organised the infamous bookburning of over 25000 books. In the square, transparent tiles on the ground look in on a room with empty bookshelves.
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On Unter den Linden statues of the Humboldt brothers sit in front of Humboldt University. This building was built for the Prince of Prussia in 1753,

You'd be happy to know that I did pause for food - I must say this was surprising good, a simple snitzel in a long roll with lettuce and tomato. It's probably the best thing I've eaten in my time in Berlin.
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This large bronze statue of Frederick the Great sits in the middle of Unter den Linden. It was unveiled in 1851 and involved 40 artists and 70 years in planning.
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As things were starting to get busier - it is germany's national holiday - I decided to head back to the hotel.

Or more accurately I headed to the Europa Center near the hotel to take in the view of the city from their observation level. It's a very reasonable €3.

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I also did sample two beverages - Berliner Weissbier mit Schuss, the syrup flavoured beers. Himbeere is the raspberry flavoured and Waldmeister is woodruff.
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These things taste worse than they look - and yes they really are that colour
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I would normally end my commentary here but a minor emergency occured as I was in the middle of packing up for tomorrow. While checking the ticket for the night train I discovered it was for the wrong day!

I was in a bit of a pickle so at 9pm I had to do the only thing I could - head to Berlin Zoo Station and try to get a ticket for tomorrow. Needless to say walking at night through that area of Berlin isn't something I'd want to do.

I had to wait for an english speaking ticket seller - and bad news came when I was told that the ticket couldn't be changed - I had to buy a new ticket. Luckily, a single bedroom was available. The next problem was on the vienna to budapest leg where no first class seats were available so I made a booking for the second class. At least I'm going to get there - which is a great relief. I just have to kick myself for making the original mistake but I'll just blame that on losing information when the hard disk died...yep that's it, it's the computers fault.

For more photos you can click on the appropriate links
Berliner Dom
Berlin

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