Saturday, June 29, 2012
Thursday started sunny but promised to turn to rain again by 6PM. We packed rain kit for that eventuality. Meg had decided to do a walking tour of East Berlin. These free tours pay the guide in tips at the end of the three hours of walking and touring. Two blocks south of the Brandenburg Gate, we came to the Holocaust Memorial.
It is a sloping city block, 4.7 acres, containing 2711 irregular height stelae in a grid. Each block is about 8 feet x 3 feet and separated by narrow cobbled paths. Other memorials to those murdered by the Nazis are nearby, but separate from this Memorial.
A couple of blocks away is the parking lot that sits over Hitler’s Bunker. An apartment building that housed favored Soviet dignitaries runs along the side of the lot. Katarina Witt, the East German skater, lived here for some time.
We could not find a German eatery for supper in Potsdamer Platz! We walked about and about but could not find one. Hungry, we settled into a Matador, just off the Platz. This Spanish/Argentinian inspired chain had a decent menu. I DID order a schnitzel and a pint of Berliner Kindl. A good buffet salad bar was sampled as well. Meg had an Argentinian steak. Crowds of young Germans were walking by. Germany was to play Italy In the last of the semis of Euro 2012. It was obvious as the clock advanced and the rain sprinkles began, that we were not going to watch the game at Brandenburg Gate. We located a bar nearby named “The Billy Wilder”, found seats at the end of the bar with a view of the large TV, and each of us ordered a Berliner. The German youngsters were not up to the experienced Italians level as they missed 5 good shots on goal in the first 20 minutes and then Italy scored two before the half ended. Quiet settled into the bar when Italy went ahead and it was obvious that it would end that way. The German waiters did perform well.
Friday was spent visiting places far and wide in the city. The best was a Diane Arbus photography exhibit at a museum near the Museum of Terror. There were 200 of her “portraits” covering her career from the mid-fifties until her suicide death in 1971. Meg had arranged a 7 PM visit to the Reichstag. Once again the evening rains arrived as we finished the tour. My jacket now leaked all over, not just at the seams. I was done. We took the subway back to our hotel. We stopped for our first real German meal at the Café Stresemann. I had a pint of Berliner and grilled liver with apple slices, onions, and mashed garlic potato.
It was very good; not the harsh livery taste I was used to in USA. This classic German treatment had a creamy texture with a warm fatty liver flavor; very pleasant.
We headed back to the Cafe in the morning for breakfast on our way to the train station for the ride to Dresden. Over an espresso, I wondered if I had given Berlin a fair chance to impress me. I should go back and spend more time in other parts of the city; places where Soviet and Nazi history is not so “in your face”.