Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Visit To Berlin

During our time in  Germany Scott and I went to Berlin for a few days and met up with Ashley.  I had never been to Berlin and I was really excited about the trip.  We left Hannah with my parents and made the 6 hour drive to east Germany.  Berlin is a very interesting city and I am so glad that I can finally say that I have been to the capital of Germany. 
The night we got there we walked over to the Parliament and the Brandenburg Gate.  I had read that the lines get really long to get into Parliament, but that they are open until 10pm and if you go at night the lines are not that bad.  Well, I guess the book was right that there are no lines late at night, but we couldn't get in, because you have to have prior clearance now and that takes 2-3 business days.  I was really bummed, because that was what I was looking forward to the most.  Now we know for next time.
We also walked by Parliament again the next day, so I got a picture during daylight.
Brandenburg Gate at night
The next day we started to explore the city by foot.  I love walking all around new cities.  I think it is the best way to see the city.  Scott is not always a huge fan of that, but I think he knows what to expect now when we go visit a new city.  We walked to the Topography of Terror Wall monument.  It felt very surreal reading the entire history of the wall right there where you can still see pieces of it. 
I think they did a wonderful job with this memorial to tell history.
From there we walked over to Checkpoint Charlie and visited the museum.  The museum was very interesting and told a lot of the stories of how people tried to escape.  People were very creative.  It was so sad to read how many families were separated by the wall.  It is so hard to imagine that this was not that long ago.  I was old enough to remember the day the wall came down.
We purchased a piece of the Berlin wall and thought it would be really neat for Hannah to have when telling her about the history of Germany.  It will also be cool for her to take to school for show and tell one day.
Berlin is a pretty city with a lot of history.  I think you can still tell the differnece between east and west, but so much has changed in the last 20 years.
The Berlin bear
This is the famous hotel Adlon where Michael Jackson dangled Blanket over the balcony (this and the Currywurst museum were Ashley's highlights of the trip).
The hotel is right next to the Brandenburg Gate
Some couple was taking wedding pictures in front of the gate, so I thought I snap one too! Congrats on the wedding :)

We walked over to the "Gedaechtnis Kirche", but it was all wrapped up for restoration.  This is what it is supoosed to look like.
And this is what it looks like today.....
At night we went to a little restaurant called "Marjellchen", which serves Prussian cuisine.  One of Ashley's friends recommended it and then I saw that it was also listed in our travel book.  I was a little nervous that it was going to be too touristy, but it did not disappoint.  We had a great meal!  The owner of the restaurant was a little intimidating at first.....I called to make reservations and they were all booked for the night, but she said if we come after 8:30pm she can work us in.  Well, we showed up at 9:15pm, which is after 8:30pm, right?  She was not very happy with us, but we were still able to get a table and eat.
What is left of Ashleys' meatballs....she did finish them and had the "meat sweats" that night (I think there were 3 of those huge meatballs).

Us with the owner. 
 She referred to herself as "Big Mama". She was really funny and made me order something I was not going to order. I originally wanted a steak, but she said I can get that anywhere. Ha!  After our big meal we were too full and tired to do anything else.  We walked back and went to bed.  On the way home we saw a "light show" that Scott participated in.  It was part of the "Berlin Lights" that were going on that week.
Another "exhibit" for the Berlin Lights
The next morning we drove out to Potsdam to visit the two big palaces.
Perfect blue sky (it was cold out though)
We had lunch in the Dutch Quarter of Potsdam and then started out long journey back to Cologne.  Ashley went with us and spent a few days in Cologne before heading back to London.
Hannah was sick during the time we were away.  Therefore, she had a few low-key days, but got lots of snuggle time with Oma. 

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