Saturday, January 31, 2015

Weekend in Berlin

Besides our walking tour, visiting the wall, and visiting Christmas markets, we had time for other fun stuff in Berlin. 

Saturday morning we were up before the sun and headed to the Reichtstag for our scheduled tour of the dome. On the way we were able to see Brandenburg Gate in the early morning with practically no tourists!

The Reichtstag is similar to Congress in the US - it is the representatives in the government. The building is large and imposing as it should be, however, one different thing is a glass dome on top. This was rebuilt after WWII as it underwent significant damage. The glass dome is suppose to represent transparency of the government to the people. But dress appropriately, it's an open air dome!

Above the doors it reads "To the German People". 

From the dome, you can see all across Berlin. Again, wish we would have gotten rid of some of those clouds.

This cylinder comes down through the center of the dome into the Reichstag. It actually has mirrors all around and directs light down into the building to reduce the need of lighting inside. There is a sun shade that circles the cylinder so you don't get any crazy sun reflections. It was also designed to assist with the air circulation, to expel hot air and help with the overall heating and cooling of the building. You can see the seats for the politicians when you look into the bottom glass area. 

It was hard to take a picture of the picture because of the reflections, but you can see some of the damage from WWII. 

After our dome tour, we hit some of the spots Mary didn't get to see on the walking tour. One of which was the memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Here's a pic from walking inside/through the monument. 

Then it was time to warm up with a hot chocolate and a donut :). 

We visited some of the bigger museums in town. There is a Museum Island and you could probably spend days in all of them. We hit up the museum that went through the history of Germany and the Jewish museum. 

I'm Lutheran and Martin Luther was German. So the history museum had a number of displays related to Luther and the church. This was a copy of one of his books. 

The Gutenburg press.....or so I thought. It was a printing press of some significance, but when I just tried to look it up, the Gutenburg looks different. Oh well :). 

3-D in the .... Let's say 18th century. 

How's they do that? Secret revealed. 

One of the paintings I enjoyed. Maybe Kaise Wilhelm? I don't remember who was the focus. 

A map of all the concentration camps and prisons in Nazi Germany. You know, I wondered after being in Poland how the German museums would address the death camps like Auschwitz. I'd say there was no different in coverage from my perspective. If you remember the pictures I posted from our Auschwitz tour of the model on how the gas chambers worked, the exact same model was in the German museum. 

Have you seen Imitation Game? Or watched Bletchley Circle on Netflix or PBS? I believe both feature this coding machine used by Germans during WWII but decoded by the Allies, thank goodness!

A piece of the wall. 

There wasn't a lot to take pictures of in the Jewish Museum, but I did type my name in Hebrew. 
I liked this museum a lot. It did have a number of interactive exhibits where you could learn about Judaism. Like learning more about living Kosher and some of the holidays. They also had a pear tree you could leave a prayer on. They highlighted some well known Jews and their background. It was very interesting.

On our way home, Berlin even decorated at the airport :). There was a lit Christmas tree on the grass in between runways. It's hard to see in my picture, but just left of dead center in the picture. 

A great long weekend in Berlin! Highly recommend a visit!

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