Today has certainly been an interesting day. After my blogging this morning, checking e-mail and talking to Karen and Anita on Skype, it was after 2 p.m. and I was tired so I laid down on the bed to read some of the travel brochures I picked up at the hotel desk and then decided a nap was in order (as I had nothing else planned and it was still overcast.)
I awoke around 3 to the sound of a herd of young Germans thundering through the hotel as a high-school-aged tour group got here. Their presence might make breakfast in the morning interesting… The breakfast area isn’t small, but it’s not large enough for a full hotel’s worth of guests either. I wonder how long they are staying…
Anyway, I still had no plans as the afternoon wasted away, so I thought I would try taking a risk. I pulled up a Berlin map, closed my eyes and pointed my finger — to the Wedding district of Mitte. I had made no previous plans in my itinerary to go to Wedding, and none of the tour guide books mention it, so my curiosity was sparked. I googled it and found via Wikipedia that Wedding is a working-class district with very few attractions.
So naturally, I went.
After quickly checking Weather.com and being informed that it was still calling for overcast skies for several hours (but no rain) I left the hotel. Weather.com lied a little as it was actually sprinkling, but it stopped by the time I arrived in Wedding via the bus and U-bahn system.
When I got there, I immediately understood why Wedding is not mentioned in the guide books. The Wedding district formally belonged to the French after WWII , and as it borders Pankow to the east, it was one of the first sites for construction of the Wall. Modern day Wedding is quite shabby, filled with poorer Berliners and plenty of non-Germans. I walked down Müllerstrasse which turns into Chausseenstrasse which turns into Friedrichstrasse, following the route that the U6 subway line takes underground. The walk revealed the dirtier side of Berlin, one that has seen neither corporate/government reconstruction or much gentrification. The area bleeds into Mitte in the south, and though it is definitely a melting pot area, it won’t likely be a large highlight of my research paper.
After I had walked all the way to Friedrichstrasse, I saw the large Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof which doubles as both a Berlin subway and a Deutsche Bahn hub. There I picked up a pizza-brot for supper and took the S1 (or was it S2?) line to Unter den Linden to relax a little before coming back to the hotel. I later realized when I saw a sign on another tram that I wasn’t supposed to eat my pizza while riding…oops.
After looking around the Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburger Tor and ascertaining that something important was going on at the French Embassy (lots and lots and lots of black/grey Mercedes and their black suit-wearing drivers were parked around the Pariser Platz) I took a few photos and sat down for a Sprite and Apple Strudel at a bäkerei. After writing down my thoughts on the evening, I headed back to the hotel around 8.