We woke to a rainy Sunday and took an early morning walk up the Kurfurstendamm. At the far end of the street is a steeple of a church, which was bombed in the war. It has been left as a memorial. The jagged edge really brought it home to me that this is recent history.
Everything else we see around Europe is usually interesting in that it’s old, but this was a terrible reminder of something new.
This is a shopping mall but with some very interesting monuments inside. A clock using water pressure had us mesmerized for 5 minutes or so. And a fountain using water force to created the fountain effect was quite cool.
When arrived at the tennis not expecting anything to be happening due to the rain to find Amelie Mauresmo accepting a trophy. Initially we were a bit confused thinking they couldn’t have played so quickly and had we got the time wrong. Then we spotted Venus in makeup and non-tennis clothes with a pair of crutches. So no final for us.
Anastasia Myskina (world number 5) was still there so her and Mauresmo played a short exhibition match for us. As it wasn’t a competition game they played some good nerveless tennis. Then it really starting to pour. We didn’t stick around for the doubles.
That meant we had time to do a circuit of the hop on hop off bus tour. How interesting Berlin is. AS I mentioned earlier – I think it come from the fact that the history is so recent.
Seeing the ‘Wall’ was sobering.
Crossing through the East and West was sometimes noticeable. Some of the highlights were Checkpoint Charlie (the US check point for people crossing over) the Brandenburger Gate, the TV tower in Alexanderplatz, the new Potsdamer Platz. As you’d imagine there is still a lot of construction work going on and many new buildings.
The Kurfurstendamm was modeled on the Champ Elysee in Paris and all buildings were 4 stories high by law. I can’t remember the exact details but over 90% of the buildings were lost in the war. It’s a sobering statistic.
The rain hadn’t abated by the end of our bus trip so we had an early dinner. Gavin had an idea of finding an english movie. We walked up and down the Kurfurstendamm, but couldn’t find anything. When we got back to London we found out that that night Brad Pitt was in Berlin at the world premier of Troy in the Potdamer Platz only about 4 blocks from where we were. I couldn’t believe I’d been that close to seeing him, and more so the coincidence of us looking for a movie. Oh well.
So that was Berlin, not sure if we’ll go back again since we had our bonus bus tour but it certainly was a city that made you think.