Having covered so many sights on our first day we decided on a leisurely next couple of days.
This was certainly helped by morning visits to the gym and watching the previous days highlights of the Tour de France as well as quite surprisingly finding that Foxtel Go worked on my iPad and iPhone.
Late breakfasts in the Wintergarten Coffee Shop, a new leader in the best coffee stakes, were also part of our leisurely starts to the day.
Whilst walking through Berlin we had become fascinated with the painted fibre glass bears that were spread throughout the city.
The bears were out the front of Hotels, Shopping Centres, on street corners and in Embassies. A little research on the Internet, Wikipedia, provided the answer. They are buddy bears and were originally created to signify peace and optimism. In fact as I read more I found out that these bears go on tour spreading the peace and unity message!
The Liberty Bear was the first. I liked the one at the South Korean Embassy which was located around the corner from our hotel.
As well as the United Buddy Bears there are others which form part of an art competition and these were the ones on street corners, at the front of hotels and shopping centres.
Berlin has so many things to see and given our decision to take it easy, we certainly didn’t have the time to see them all. We particularly liked the leafy streets. They are delightful to walk along on a warm summer’s day of which our holiday has been full. One of the main shopping streets the Kurfurstendaumm was quite near our hotel.
Before leaving Australia we made arrangements to have lunch at the Reichstag Dome Restaurant. Getting into the Reichstag wasn’t straightforward as it is the German Parliament. To gain access to the restaurant we had to provide advice prior to the date of our visit of our full name and date of birth. We then had to bring photo id, complete security checks and be chaperoned on our walk and lift ride to the dome. The restaurant has great views of the city and the dome is spectacular. The food and wine weren’t bad, but it is definitely about the view!
From there it was a short walk to the Brandenburg Gate, not making the mistake of the previous day where we had a drink at the ritzy Hotel Aldon and bought quite possibly the most expensive bottle of water on the planet! The Brandenburg Gate is linked to the spectacular Victory Monument a kilometre or so away. We could have walked between the two as our hotel was near the Victory Monument, but it was pretty warm so we decided on the train.
We wandered along Kurfurstendaumm, did a little shopping and had a drink watching the world go by. Very relaxing.
Our final day was spent at the zoo which was literally next door to our hotel. Apparently visiting the zoo made us real Berliners according to our hotel’s reception! It’s a large zoo with amongst other animals, seven elephants including a very cute baby elephant, giraffes, zebras, lions tigers and bears, oh my! It was funny seeing the kangaroos and emus in an exhibit as we are used to seeing them in the pine forests around our beach house. It was really lovely seeing people’s delight when one of the kangaroos obligingly hopped up the hill of its enclosure.
We had taken Trip Advisor’s advice and booked diner at Heising Restaurant This was some experience. Period decor and music, hosted by the owners, a delightful husband and wife couple. Of many moments the one where I asked about wine from Mrs Heising to receive in a polite response “Mr Heising looks after the wine” was quaint and lovely. The service was impeccable as was the food, a very traditional French meal. As the evening progressed Mrs Heising informed us that she was leaving for the night but that Mr Heising would look after us. That he did, right through to escorting us to the door as we left.
Trip Advisor’s rating for this restaurant is Number One for Berlin and they might well be right!
Well that’s Berlin. A lovely three days filled with many highlights and sights, some sobering and many fun filled. Our nightly drinks in the fabulous Hotel Das Stue garden were high up on the list.
Onto Edinburgh and the last legs of our trip.