Berlin 2012: Day 4 – Rainy Bus Tour

As per my re-start post I am going to be re-blogging some of my posts from a site that unfortunately no longer exists in an effort to get working on my blog again.

This was the first big blog collection I worked on, wanting to add a bit more substance rather than just a few pictures. As with other posts of old blogs the photos are as taken with the exception of some cropping.

The weather was rather crappy on day 4 so we decided that today was the day for the bus tour. We also discovered the tickets were valid for 2 days so we could stay in the dry and decide where we wanted to go tomorrow using the bus to get there – jackpot!

One of the funniest things today could not be captured on film. The music in between the commentary on the bus tour – which was very informative and well worthwhile – sounded an awful lot like the music from The Running Man. As soon as we heard this we did unfortunately then have to put up with the mental image of Arnie running around in a costume that was just that bit too tight for the comfort of those watching.

Please excuse the raindrops on the bus windows – not a lot I could do really, but not all photos were from the bus as you will see.

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The TV tower shrouded in cloud – this isn’t even the lowest the cloud came during the day. More information about the TV tower can be found in Days 1 and 2.

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Childish toilet humour now (and a bit of a rubbish photo) for fans of the Austin Powers films – ‘Have you seen my Balzac?’

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Humboldt University. Berlin’s oldest university founded in 1810 by the Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt. It had two names before becoming the Humboldt University in 1949 in honour of its founder and his brother – geographer Alexander von Humboldt. More information about this will follow in day 5.

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Brandenburg Gate. This is a former city gate rebuilt in the late 18th century as a neoclassical triumphal arch. It is the only remaining gate of a series through which Berlin was once entered.

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Taking a break from the tour of Berlin we also saw Darth Vader – or perhaps Dark Helmet would be more apt? – being killed by a random tourist. I didn’t get a picture of him but there was also a Jedi Mickey Mouse.

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Looking down Strasse des 17 Juni from the Brandenburg Gate to the victory column in Tiergarten. The statue is “Der Rufer” (The Crier), a 3 meter tall bronze statue created by Gerhard Marcks in 1966. Inscribed at its base is quotation from Italian poet Francesco Petrarch: “I wander through the world and cry ‘Peace, peace, peace.”

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Brandenburg Gate from behind – don’t often see from this side. The gate is the monumental entry to Unter der Linden which formerly led to the city palace of the Prussion monarchs. Though the gate has remained essentially unchanged it has had periods of being different. For instance when Napoleon defeated the Prussions at the battle of Jena-Auerstedt the Quadriga (the statue on top of the gate) was removed and taken to Paris but was restored after Napoleon’s defeat in 1814.

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Brandenburg Gate – another unusual angle to see it from, taken from the corner of the Reichstag. Though badly damaged during WWII the gate was still standing and was restored in a joint effort by the East and West Berlin. Though the holes were patched they were visible for many years. Though briefly used as a checkpoint in the Berlin wall this was closed off following protests by the West Berliners and became a part of the no man’s land until the wall came down in 1989. The gate was refurbished privately in 2000 and was reopened in 2002 to celebrate the 12th anniversary of reunification. The gate is now again closed to vehicles.

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The Reichstag building. Unfortunately we didn’t get to go up the dome. We thought from talking to others that had been you could basically just queue up and climb the dome – not so anymore. You have to book in advance and it takes at least 3 days to be confirmed. Oh well. The Reichstag was the parliament of the German Empire for which the building was originally built in 1894 and was used for until 1933 when it was severely damaged by fire. After WWII it fell into disuse. The ruined building was partially refurbished in the 1960s but no attempt at full restoration was made until after German reunification in 1990 when reconstruction was led by Norman Foster. Once completed in 1999 it became the meeting place of the German parliament, Bundestag.

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On to Potsdam Platz where a few sections of the wall still stand – saw this one and the slogan made us chuckle.

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You could even get your passport stamped and get an East Berlin Visa.

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Jewish Museum. Though we did not go in I have found some information about the museum. Interestingly the original museum was built in 1933 but subsequently closed in 1938 by the Nazi regime. In 1975 a Jewish exhibition was opened in 1978 and soon after this discussions began about building an extension to the museum. Building began in 1992 and not completed until 1999 and was not filled and opened until 2001. This photo is of a part of the extension which is only accessible from underground tunnels from the original building which is the Berlin Museum. The main display which is permanent is a history of Germany through Jewish eyes.

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Konzerthaus. A concert hall in the Gendarmenmarkt square in the central Mitte district. Originally built as a theatre 1818-1821 under the name Schauspielhaus Berlin its use changed after WWII and it’s name changed to its present one in 1994. It is has the following two cathedrals on either side.

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French Cathedral: The older of the two cathedrals was built by the Huegenot community between 1701 and 1705 and was modelled on a destroyed Hugenot church in France. Heavilt damaged in the war it was rebuilt between 1977-1981. Despite it’s name the French Cathedral has never been the seat of a bishop and so is not really a cathedral.

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German Cathedral: As with the French Cathedral, this is not actually a cathedral but a church. Only marginally younger than the French cathedral this was originally built 1701-1708. Completely destroyed in 1943 it was rebuilt 1977-1988. During this time the German government acquired the building and reopened it in 1996 as the Bundestag’s museum on German parliamentary history.

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East Side Gallery – a 1.3km long section of the wall remaining which is now protected. More of this to follow in day 5.

A bit of a dreary day but we still had fun saw a lot of Berlin and had some ideas for the following day weather permitting.

Links to all days in Berlin:

Berlin 2012: Days 1 & 2 – Wandering and the Aquarium

Berlin 2012: Day 3 – Berlin Zoo

Berlin 2012: Day 4 – Rainy Bus Tour

Berlin 2012: Day 5 – Bus Tour II

Berlin 2012: Day 6 – Potsdam

Berlin 2012: Days 7 & 8 Tierpark & Homeward Bound

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