Ah, my first full day in Berlin. I felt quite good this morning after a long, hard sleep last night and good breakfast this morning at the hotel. All day has been completely overcast, so with my camera, backpack and rain jacket in tow, I headed out from the hotel around 10 a.m.
At first I walked west toward the U-Bahnhof (subway station) Adenauerplatz to see how long it would take to walk there. As I suspected yesterday and confirmed on the BVG (Berlin Transportation Group) Web site this morning, the U1 line which follows Ku’damm is closed for construction until October. Fortunately, BVG has set a bus route that follows the U1 line, and I noticed today on their electronic signs that a bus going to Tegel Airport stops along the Ku’damm. Now if only I had known that yesterday… This will make it much easier to get back to the airport next Friday.
After making it to Adenauerplatz in about 8 minutes, I started walking east back along Ku’damm, taking pictures of the myriad shops (mostly high fashion) or things with international flavor. As I point out numerous times on today’s Flickr set, there are plenty of them.
I walked to the Gedächtniskirche and then took several more photos of the church and the office buildings around it. I’m a bit worried about the way my photos are turning out with this cloud cover — the sky is just a gray or white blah. Weather.com said it was supposed to shower today and tomorrow, so I’m not sure what I will do at the moment, aside from play things by ear.
I bought a postcard for Dennis’s grandparents just down the street from the Gedächtniskirche, then I walked to a small park at Wittenburgplatz. It was very quaint, similar to what one might find in a German village. That was around noon, and I wasn’t even hungry yet, so I decided to try to make today a two-meal day. With the large, late breakfast and normal supper, it has worked out well so far, though I’m a bit hungry now. Tomorrow when all of the stores are open (most are closed on Sundays) I plan to go to a grocery store and buy a few things to keep at the hotel.
This afternoon I spent 8 Euros at the Story of Berlin exhibit, a multimedia walk-through presentation on Berlin’s history from medieval island to reunification. It was very well laid out and employed a number of great presentation methods. I spent nearly three hours there; other people kept moving on past me as I took the time to read nearly every sign in the place. It didn’t add a whole lot to my research, but it helped solidify some of the reading I’ve done on Berlin’s history.
After I finished at the exhibit, I headed back to the Hotel to relax and nap for a little while before wandering back out for supper. I found a nice cafe with decent prices in the opposite direction from where I ate last night, and had a hamburger with fries and a cappuccino to keep me going tonight!
Just a side note: I obviously didn’t go to the Deutsche Oper today to see Porgy and Bess. I’m debating on whether or not to go see it (it’s the only show they have all month.) It will probably come down to how much money I have later in the trip.
Finally, a few observations from today:
-German dogs are very cute and well behaved, though one did bark at me today.
-The weather really must clear up for me to get better photos. I played with some of the photos from this morning in Photoshop with varying degrees of success, but nothing can replace the gray clouds with blue sky.
-Taking a 30-minute nap in the afternoon helps a lot.
-I definitely understand Germans’ love for a good cafe. The atmosphere of a relaxing cafe, sitting with friends talking and eating, is perfect for the end of a busy day (and for the Germans is made even better by adding beer and/or coffee!)
-While I was sitting at the cafe, a convertible drove past blasting “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot” on their speakers. Completely awesome, and unheard of in America.
That’s it for today; I need to go to bed!