13 April 2010

Easter in Berlin

Taking advantage of a four day Easter break and a budget airline, Kathy and I jetted off to Berlin.  Immediately, we were struck by how massive the city is.  Because of the enormous damage during WWII, most of the beautiful architecture has been replaced by modern structures. Unlike Munich, which recreated its original buildings after being bombed beyond recognition, Berlin has transformed into a modern, international metropolis, and is in a continuous state of reinvention.

While not conventionally beautiful, Berlin houses a wealth of art and history museums, and continues to be a leader in the world of art and design.  We wandered through a number of exciting museums, including the Gemäldegalerie, which houses one of the most important collections of European art in the world.  We also toured the Bauhaus, a famous design school.  As a graphic designer who studied the Bauhaus extensively, it was very much a pilgrimage for me.  A trip to the astoundingly beautiful Charlottenburg Palace (heavily restored after the war) was a highlight of our trip.  Kathy and I agreed that it is in many ways comparable to Versailles.

A free walking tour brought us to important sights like The Brandenburg Gate in Potsdam, the embassies, the site above Hitler’s former bunker where he ended his life, remaining sections of the Berlin Wall (which ironically are protected by fences), Checkpoint Charlie (name given by Western Allies to crossing point between East and West Germany during the Cold War), The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral), and many others.  We found the Holocaust Memorial and the underground memorial to the book burning particularly moving.  Although admittedly, I dozed off during the Easter Sunday Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Hedwig, we did enjoy a rousing performance (in English) of the Halleluia chorus from Handel’s Messiah. 

A culinary highlight was visiting the world's largest chocolate house, Fassbender & Rausche, where our senses were tantalized by chocolate sculptures of German monuments, and every imaginable form of chocolate.  We dined at the upstairs cafe, on warm, flakey apple strudel bathed in white chocolate. 

In the midst of incredible history and sights, my favorite moments were spent at the table, over coffee or dinner, when we could just relax and talk about anything under the sun. 

While we barely scraped the surface of the lively city of Berlin, it was a lovely experience with a great friend to be cherished forever!

Brandenburg Gate

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

Catholic Cathedral of Saint Hedwig

Fountain of Neptune

Checkpoint Charlie

Mural extolling the "glories" of socialism

The Bauhaus!

The Bauhaus

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace

Gardens of Charlottenburg Palace

Brandenburg Gate, Potsdam

Chocolate reproduction of Brandenburg Gate at 
Fassbender & Rausche

Fassbender & Rausche chocolate house

Fassbender & Rausche chocolate house

Remnants of the Berlin Wall

Holocaust Memorial

Inside Holocaust Memorial

St. Marienkirche and the Fernsehturm (TV Tower)

Alexanderplatz, surely named after me!

Kathy at one of the Opera houses

Apple strudel in white chocolate sauce at 
Fassbender & Rausche chocolate house!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous08 May, 2010

    I enjoy the history lessons when I read your blogs. The inside of the palace looked quite lavish.Was also quite intrigued with the chocolate factory. I'll bet it smelled really good in there! Mom


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