Saturday, March 7, 2009

Berlin: Thursday 5th March

Today was a huge 8 hours walking and standing excluding a short stop for lunch and a coffee later in the day – we were both knackered by the day’s end.

This morning we took the S-Bahn to Schloss Charlottenburg – the palace built for Sophie-Charlotte, Queen of Prussia. It was originally intended as a simple summer residence but various monarchs and extensions turned this into the largest palace in Berlin. The palace was badly damaged in WWII an restoration started in the 1950’s with much of it being returned to the original state.

The park side view of the palace and the view from the street

The rich baroque style can not be said to be simple or understated in any way – the exact opposite of minimalism. 2 lovely rooms were the porcelain room built to display Sophie Charlotte’s extensive oriental collection and the green ballroom. There was enough gold and gilding to sink a ship. There were extensive gardens and parks attached that we briefly looked at as we had already been there two and a half hours.

After lunch we visited the Berliner Dom, (Berlin Cathedral) another stunning building not that long out of it’s reconstruction phase.

The interior was light with a neo-Baroque pulpit (found that out afterwards, we didn’t immediately identify the style as such!) and a large organ. We walked up 270 steps to the dome of the church where we could walk around outside.

View from the outside of the dome

The light interior and the stone exterior - those that are darker are original stone, the lighter are restored stone

Down below is the crypt where there are more 80 sarcophagai of Prussian royals dating back to the 14th century.

We then had a change of pace and headed to Potsdamer Platz, an area of all new construction in what had been no man’s land where the Berlin wall had stood. Lots of new buildings, but perhaps a bit of a soulless place.

We headed back to Museum Island (where there is a cluster of Museums) which were free after 6pm on a Thursday evening.

Checking out the super new main train station, Berlin Hauptbahnhof

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