Reststop in Berlin
Fri 16 Jun 2006 0 °F
Today’s the full day in Berlin to see the sights (somewhat around the games). As you would expect Berlin has a great many things to see – and for one day, too many. The weather was hot and muggy, we tried the busses, but they were too overcrowded and stuffy, so we got around mostly on foot. Alexanderplatz is the home of giant TV tower (pink soccer ball) as well as a very nice park and the Neptune fountain. Not too far from there was the Berliner Dom, which sits right on the river and right by several museums. Like many historical buildings in German, the Dom was completely renovated after the war, but many before and after pictures were on display. It was very interesting. We started up a what looked like just a second floor (first story). But there were more and more different staircases, a mere 264 steps later and we were at the top of the Dom for a great view of the city. Near the Opera House and the Library there was a big display of painted bears – one from each country (whether in the Cup or not) – the 125 members of the United Nations. The bears are much like the lions of Munich or the cows of Chicago, if you’ve seen those. But this is a special United Buddy Bears that are actually touring around for peace – from Berlin, Austria, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney. The Reichstag (seat of the German parliament) was impressive from the outside, but too long of a line to get inside. The Brandenburg Gate was also quite impressive, even with the surrounding World Cup setups. The Tiergarten (Europe’s largest metropolitan park) was completely taken over by the gigantic fan fest with at least 4 huge television screens.
Like I said, there were too many things we didn’t see well or at all, like Checkpoint Charlie, the Wall, Schloss Charlottenburg and the Tiergarten.
Oddly enough, at a shopping mall, about a mile’s walk from our hotel, is where we watched the day’s games. They had TVs and picnic tables setup everywhere. The young Spanish team was very impressive. The Tunesia/Saudia Arabia game was unexpectedly good as well – one of the best goals so far in that game – we’d gone back to the hotel to watch that one. For the premier game of the day, German/Poland, we went back to the mall, but this time we watched the game in HD in the Movie Theater. That was really unique to see the game on such a big screen. It seemed as though the gods were against the Germans until they finally netted one at the very end.