History Lessons in Berlin, Part 1

After being in Montpellier for 5 straight months, it was finally time to start exploring some other places in Europe.  Although the planes from Montpellier’s airport don’t travel to too many places, Lyon’s airport is one of the larger airports in France.  Therefore we took advantage of our recent trip to Lyon to fly from there to Berlin, a really reasonably priced trip thanks to EasyJet.  (Gotta love the budget airlines in Europe!)

After a busy weekend in Lyon at the Circuit Assembly, the first day was spent just recuperating.  Then, the 2nd day was spent visiting long lost friends, like Starbucks and Uniqlo.  But after that,  it was time to explore the city.  Berlin is such a fascinating city, due to its combination of the old and new, of the ornate and the austere.  Compared with the rest of Europe, a lot of Berlin’s changes have been recent, only happening in the past few decades, and the architecture and vibe of the city reflects this.  Enough with the words, let’s explore Berlin in photos…

Mom and Dad Stand in Front of the Victory Column

Mom and Dad Stand in Front of the Victory Column

Sometimes it’s fun to explore a city without a plan.  So that’s what we did – we jumped on a Berlin bus and jumped off at the first interesting looking landmark.  We ended up here at the Victory Column.  Completed in 1873 to celebrate Prussian victories, it sits in the middle of Berlin’s largest urban park, the Tiergarten.

Walking through underground tunnels to get to the Victory Column

Walking through underground tunnels to get to the Victory Column

Looking up at the Victory Column

Looking up at the Victory Column

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We decided to take the 285 (!!) to the top...

We decided to climb the 285(!!!) steep steps to the top…

Our calves were burning and we were short of breath by the time we reached the top of the Victory Column, but the views were worth it.  Here we're looking through the Tiergarten down to the Brandenburg Gate

Our calves were burning and we were short of breath by the time we reached the top of the Victory Column, but the views were worth it. Here we’re looking through the Tiergarten down to the Brandenburg Gate

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Our next stop was Museum Island, an island in the center of Berlin that is home to 5 internationally recognized museums…

The Berliner Cathedral on Museum Island

The Berliner Cathedral on Museum Island

The Alte Nationalgalerie, showing neoclassical, romantic, Biedermeier, Impressionist and early Modernist artwork.  Sadly, we didn't have the time or energy to go inside...

The Alte Nationalgalerie, showing neoclassical, romantic, Biedermeier, Impressionist and early Modernist artwork. Sadly, we didn’t have the time or energy to go inside…

But we did make it to the Pergamon Museum.  It’s not as large as the British Museum or the Louvre, but it’s amazing in that in contains multiple reconstructed immense and historically significant buildings…

The visually stunning Ishtar Gate reconstructed from the ruins of Babylon.  It was originally built around 575 BCE by the order of King Nebuchadnezzar II and once considered one of the 7 wonders of the world.  This is the smaller frontal gate of an original double gate - the back part is deemed too large to fit into the constraints of the museum

The visually stunning Ishtar Gate reconstructed from the ruins of Babylon. It was originally built around 575 BCE by the order of King Nebuchadnezzar II and once considered one of the 7 wonders of the world. This is the smaller frontal gate of an original double gate – the back part is deemed too large to fit into the constraints of the museum

Lions leading the Processional Way to the Ishtar Gate

Lions leading the Processional Way to the Ishtar Gate

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Just a portion of the massive reconstructed Market Gate of Miletus, originally built in the 2nd century CE, serving as the the northern entrance to the Southern market

Just a portion of the massive reconstructed Market Gate of Miletus, originally built in the 2nd century CE, serving as the the northern entrance to the Southern market

The monumental Pergamon Altar, originally built during the first half of the 2nd century BCE

The monumental Pergamon Altar, originally built during the first half of the 2nd century BCE

After contemplating the massive relics in the Pergamon Museum, we stepped back into the heat of Berlin to walk around…

These bears were all over the city, reminding me of the many hearts around SF

These bears were all over the city, reminding me of the many hearts around SF

Pockmarked buildings can be found around Berlin as a testimony to the turmoil that this building has seen

Pockmarked buildings can be found around Berlin as a testimony to the turmoil that they have seen

Our last stop of the day was at the iconic Bradenburg Gate, which has a fascinating history.  It was originally built in 1791 as a sign of peace.  However, the Brandenburg Gate has seen much – from Napoleon’s triumphal procession in 1806 to the Nazis ascension to power to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate

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More of Berlin to come!  To be continued…

 

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