(Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church)
What I like best about Berlin is that its such a laid back kind of hip city. Unlike the maniacal pace of London, New York, or Tokyo, even unlike the buzzy city of Paris, Berlin manages to be a chilled out city that is still on the cutting edge.
One of my favourite things to do when I'm there is to walk around. The architecture is excellent and the artwork you stumble onto is also brilliant. Not to mention the excellent people watching in the evenings on Oranienburgstrasse.
There are some magnificent government buildings along the river and if its a nice day out and you like architecture, this area makes a great place to wander around.
This area is very close to the Reichstag which really shouldn't be missed. A great building that fuses old Berlin and new.
Just a warning though, arrive early or be prepared to get in line.
Are you looking at these pictures wondering what I think represents new Berlin in this magnificent architecture? It's on the inside -
This is Norman Foster's reconstruction (1990's) of the Reichstag dome. You can walk the spiral all the way to the top for beautiful views. Its almost as good as just looking at the dome itself.
(closeup of the mirrored "funnel" supporting the interior of the dome)
There are still remnants of the wall standing and every once in a while as you are out exploring Berlin, you'll be pleasantly surprised by a portion here or there (although, I highly discourage you from trying to walk along where the wall used to be... long and boring). I love these reminders of where the division was, not just for the history but for the artwork on them. Berlin has some magnificent graffiti.
Not all of the wall has been painted over. There's quite a bit of it that looks as it would have when it separated East from West. This particular bit of the wall wedges the borderlines directly through an old cemetary. It drives home how randomly the city was divided in two.
A really enjoyable film that helps bring to life what it was like to live behind the walls and then some of the aspects of life after it came down is Goodbye Lenin. Its a great film and even better to watch if you're planning to visit Berlin soon. See the trailer here.
Oranienburgstrasse is best explored at night when you can get a drink at one of the numerous bars and cafes that line the street. There you can sit and watch the nightlife that evolves on the street in front of you.
The area is very funky
Potsdammer Platz is another area with great architecture.
I'm torn as to whether its better to view this area in the day or in the night as its lit up so beautifully after sunset.
There's this building just on one of the sides at Sony Center where they've kept some of the facade to the original building. In order to integrate it with the new structures, they've glassed it in and light the facade in changing colours.
And the Sony Dome.
One more photo, simply because no pictorial of Berlin would be complete without an image of Fernsehturm
More to come on sleeping, eating, shopping, and seeing in Berlin...