Today I booked my flight to Atlanta. On Friday, August 22nd I take a nonstop flight from Munich to Atlanta by Delta Airlines. I have provided a countdown on my start page–less than three months!
We spent the last day of our Berlin trip in Potsdam at the Palace Sanssouci, where we had quite a few guided tours. We’ve seen the kitchen, the wine cellar, the main castle and the orangery. The orangery probably was the most impressive one.
After all the guided tours we walked around in the lovely gardens. At about four o’clock we went back to Berlin, where the girls went shopping at the famous Kurfürstendamm and Peter and I went to see the Berlin Victory Column and had dinner. For departure, we met at 7.45pm in the hostel and went together to the train station Berlin Zoologischer Garten. We left Berlin at 8.56pm with the train EN 429 Spree-Donau-Kurier. Good night!
Our third day started pretty relaxed at 9.30am. We walked over to the nearby Imperial Palace Charlottenburg where we participated in an audio tour which lasted around 90 minutes. Afterwards we strolled through the thoroughly maintained gardens which we exited at the northern end and continued our journey from the train station “Jungfernheide”.
On our way to the KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens, Department Store of The West), we took a picture of an Ampelmännchen (little traffic light man), which is an iconic ambassador of Berlin! It became the symbol for the Ostalgie.
Unfortunately, the KaDeWe was closed because of the public holiday Pfingstmontag. To the very disappointment of my female co-travelers we just took a few more photos. Anyway… after a decent lunch and some ice cream at the Sony Center, which was just a few stops down the road with the subway, nobody cared anymore :). Luckily, there was a hotspot! I was so glad to have access to the world wide web!
After this quite extensive break (because of the hotspot), we visited the DDR Museum which is next to the cathedral. Although it presents serious matter its concept is very entertaining and engaging; it’s fun to visit. After spending about one and a half hour there, we walked along the Spree, Monbijoustraße and Oranienburger Straße to the Hackeschen Höfe (Wikipedia, German available only; official site). After visiting the courtyards full of local shops and boutiques we had coffee at the Ampelmann Café and– luckily again–internet access!
After a short refreshing break back at our hotel we went back to the Sony Center and had dinner together at the Australian restaurant Corroboree. Afterwards we enjoyed a cocktail across the square at Alex. Peter and I had just enough time to capture the impressions with our cameras before we caught the last subway back to our hotel. Elisabeth, Peter and I went out again to have beer and wine at the pub next door where Peter and I were yesterday. It ended up being a very long night…
On Sunday, the first sight on the list was the dome of the Reichstag. Peter and I have been sleeping too long, so we didn’t join to visit this one. Instead, we went there about an hour later and walked along the Spree (Reichstagufer) to the train station Friedrichstraße, where we enjoyed coffee and free Wi-Fi while waiting for the girls.
Together, we walked along the boulevard Unter den Linden passing the Humbolt University and the State Opera to the cathedral. Before entering, we had a little rest at the Lustgarten, which is right on front of it. It took us about an hour to do the tour which includes the dome, the little museum and the crypt.
The State Opera was another landmark we wanted to enjoy from the inside. Our guided tour startet at 2pm and lasted a little over an hour. It is not quite as magnificent as the Vienna State Opera but it’s definitely worthwhile visiting.
After walking across Gendarmenmarkt and along Friedrichstraße we reached Checkpoint Charlie where we had our first encounter with the former American-Russian border through Berlin. While rewarding ourselves with a quick coffee break I wrote a few postcards. We continued with a relic of the Berlin Wall along Niederkirchnerstraße and the open air exhibition “Topograhpy of Terror“.
With a short side trip to the Carnival of Cultures we started into a more casual evening. I left after about an hour and had some dinner with Peter. This night we went to Spandau. Later in the evening the girls joined us again and we got to taste the famous Berliner Weisse. Peter and I closed the night with a beer at a pub next door after we put the girls to bed.
Cover photo by Peter Holler displays the Lustgarten viewed from the dome of the Berlin Cathedral.
We arrived in time at 8.01 at the main train station in Berlin. After buying the ticket for public transport, we went to the hostel. Luckily, we could get into our rooms early.
After a quick shower we were looking for a supermarket to buy fruits and snacks for breakfast, which we enjoyed in a park next to our hostel. Next, we used the subway to go to Potsdamer Platz. We walked along the street Ebertstraße to the Holocaust Memorial and the Brandenburg Gate. Needless to say – we had to take >some< pictures. Afterwards we went to the Reichstag, the building of the state government of Germany, where we caught the bus line 100. This double-decker goes along some major sights, and we all needed a little rest after our long journey. At the final stop Zoologischer Garten we went to McDonalds to get another snack.
The next sight on our plan was the television tower (Berliner Fernsehturm). We enjoyed to view the city from the platform at the height of about 203 meters. Back down, we bought some groceries and headed back to our hostel, where we got ready for the evening. At a nice Italian restaurant we had a great dinner. After the performance “Elisabeth” at the Theater des Westens, Peter and I went to see the Olympic Stadium. We enjoyed beer at the parking lot and played around with the cameras.
Just a few minutes ago, Peter and I started our longest train trip yet for more than ten hours. Our friends Elisabeth, Christina, Donia and Werner are with us. Our train, EN 428 Donau-Spree-Kurier is using the route Wien Westbahnhof – Linz – Passau – Nürnberg – Leipzig – Berlin Wannsee.
Yesterday, the forms and documents about health and financial matters and course selections and application were sent back to Emory. Now, I am waiting to receive the form (Certificate of Eligibility) for processing my visa for the States.
Since Mario had the excellent idea of biking up to Giselawarte, we started the tour today at 10am. We met at the ESH dorm. As we are not professional athletes, it took us about one and a half hours to reach the peak. After enjoying the great view, we had lunch in the tavern. And proper Austrian dessert, coffee and cake. Going downhill was quite effortless – we did it in about 25 minutes. The trip was great – enjoy the pictures!