Last weekend I had a difficult decision to make: Florence or Berlin? I had originally been invited to visit Florence with some students who planned to make their way across Italy, France, and end in Barcelona. I’ve aspired to see Florence for years, but when a different group of friends invited me to go with them to Berlin, I had to reconsider my options. I had already spent a wonderful weekend in Rome, and the likelihood that I would be able to come back to Germany any time soon is rather slim. So one 5-hour bus ride later, I was on my way to Berlin!
|In front of the Brandenburg Gate in Pariser Platz|
I met my friends at the hostel on Sunday, but our tourist itinerary wasn’t set into motion until early Monday. We downloaded a self-guided walking tour of Mitte, the historical district, from the Berlin TripAdvisor app which I would absolutely recommend! In one afternoon we saw Pariser Platz, the Reichstag parliament building, the Holocaust memorial, Treptower Park, Tiergarten, and Berliner Dom.
Under the architrave of the Reichstag is enscribed “Dem Deustchen Volke,” which means “To the German people.” We also registered to visit the Reichstag Dome, a large glass done that gives one a 360-degree view of central Berlin, but I registered for the wrong day!
The Holocaust Memorial consists of over 2,700 concrete slabs on a sloping ground. Our guide noted that it appropriately gave “an uneasy sense of order.” The ground slopes in such a way that towards the center of the monument, stelae that once were short enough to sit on tower over you and encapsulate you in their massive gray shadows.