Just catch a tram and go anywhere you want in Berlin. Yes, even when you get lost, if you keep trying, you’ll get back home.
Marilyn and I started out for the heart of Berlin after a bite to eat and some ‘make-do’ coffee in the hotel. We had an idea on what tram we needed to take to the Brandenburg Gate – a well known landmark, and the remaining old entrance to the city from the 1700s.
Since it was a Sunday, our mission was to get an idea for touring the city on a weekday and thought a good place to begin would be at the gate.
“Excuse me, I have a question.”
“I do not speak English,” the tall, handsome young German man said.
“Do you know what tram to take to the Alexanderplatz?” I pointed to the tram tracks.
“Go on line six,” he said, and did I detect he was delighted to help the two American ladies? Yes.
We made it to the Brandenburg Gate and it began to rain. I mind less about getting wet from rain than I do carrying another ‘burden’…an umbrella. There is just too much to take care of while moving around as a tourist. But Marilyn opted to purchase an umbrella.
We found a restaurant where we thought we’d get a little lunch. The restaurant door was covered with a black velvet curtain. That reminded me a bit about the part in the book I wrote, “Too Close to the Sun” a Dutch boy becomes a man during WWII, when heavy curtains blocked out the light in buildings and homes to keep the enemy in the dark during night time raids.
But the gentleman was friendly and welcomed us in. As we sat in the warm restaurant, we noticed the sky became lighter as the sun gently peeked through the cloudy sky, but it was only a tease.
We left and decided the best bet on a cloudy, rainy day would be to take the ‘hop-on-hop off’ bus. This type of bus is a regular thing for me to do in every country. You are able to get an overview of the city and know what you’d like to go back later to further explore.
A charming and funny British man, who has lived in Germany since the 80s, was our guide. As the bus took us from the Brandenburg Gate to twenty popular Berlin sites, he gave factual information with humor.
The Brandenburg Gate, one of the most well-known landmarks is located in the city center. It was commissioned by King Frederick II of Prussia as a sign of peace in the late 1700s. The gate was damaged during WWII and restored in the early 2000’s.
I thought people visiting the Brandenburg Gate would be quiet and respectful, and that was partly true as, before getting on the bus, we observed people taking part in a daily program of meditation. A few people sat in a circle quietly, while more rambunctious activity was going on around them.
A mobile cart of some sort, loaded with laughing people, heading right toward me, barely missed me as I jumped out of the way after taking a photo of them.
There were other people working the tourists for pay; folks standing as soldiers, one guy holding an American flag, and so on.
Instead of taking photos of those folks, I got a shot of Marilyn in her new hat, and she got one of me near the gate.
Back to the bus; we drove by the parliament building, the Berlin Wall, the house where the president of Germany lives, the exclusive shopping area, where the guide said you’d need a lot of money to shop there and another Christmas market.
There were twenty sites in all, and soon we will see most of them up close.
We took a tram back to the hotel, and missed the stop, got off and took the opposite tram back to the right stop. We found a snack shop where we purchased some ‘take-away’ dinner from some delightful gentlemen who serve international food, and who come from other countries, as well.
A good day, and looking forward for a closer look.