Friday, September 18, 2015

Berlin- Friday, 18 September

With everyone refreshed after a good night's sleep, it was a 9:30 departure for our city tour with Alex. The day was perfect with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s. Waiting for the coach provided good conversation.

The tour was primarily a coach tour with excellent narration and information. Unfortunately, coach windows don't afford good picture taking, but we did pass many landmarks on our way to the Brandenburg Tor. There were a number of embassies and of course the glass dome of the Reichstag.

One of the most important landmarks in Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate. It was originally designed to be an arch of peace, but it was misused by the Nazis as a gate of triumph and aggression. The four horse chariot seen at the top was confiscated by Napoleon as a spoil of war, but after the Prussians defeated Napoleon, it was returned and renamed for Victory. We had some time there to reflect on the recent history of the Gate and to look around the area and the avenue known as Unter den Linden.

As we left the Brandenburg Gate and drove down Unter den Linden, we could catch a glimpse of the incredible organization and orderliness of the German people. They number the lamp posts.

Then it was on to the Berlin Dom, one of the most ornate Protestant churches in Europe. The choir warmed up on the steps of the Dom before the performance inside. The "groupies" looked on.

Inside, the choir sang three songs. The acoustics were amazing and the group did Teutionia, Pittsuburgh, and the United States proud.

The choir gathered on the steps before we headed off to lunch and some celebratory libation.

After lunch we concluded the city tour with a stop at the Berlin Wall. This portion of the wall was not torn down, but allowed to stand and be painted.

Back to Museum Island where there was some free time and a chance to visit any of the 5 museums before heading back to the hotel.

Dinner tonight was at Kartoffel Cister. Everyone had a wonderful time discussing the day's events and enjoying delicious food.

We had salad, beets, Königsberg Klopse, smashed potatoes and a wonderful sundae of vanilla ice cream, raspberries, red currants, black currants, and strawberries.

Guess what, they even use Idaho potatoes!

We were able to thank those who helped make this tour possible tonight - Willi, Gisela, and Helga, who made so many of the overseas arrangements.

A great day and evening with an early morning start tomorrow.

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