Berlin 20071019

Had breakfast at the adjacent restaurant, which was pretty good and very convenient. A bright, sunny morning. Alexanderplatz was not the same as I remembered it. Now much smaller because of all that they’ve attached to the base of the television tower.

We found the bike tour operator and set out on our way. Our guide was an American ex-pat who was good with her knowledge and happily not annoying.

Madame Oui and I really enjoyed the tour. We saw the television tower, Berlin Town Hall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Wall, Potzdamer Platz, Hitler’s Bunker site, art site of murdered Jews, Brendenberg Gate, long and pleasant trip through the Tiergarten, Victory Square, and the Reichstag. Even the act of riding a bike through Berlin was fun in itself. I loved not having to think about where anything was, leaving it all to the tour guide.

We made it in time for our scheduled Visitor’s Lecture at the Reichstag. I knew it was in German, but I didn’t appreciate that it was a straight, 30-minute lecture. I thought it was some sort of tour through parts of the building, but alas it was not. Madame Oui said she enjoyed it. As a bonus, we were able to watch the sun set in west Berlin, from inside the dome, which was closed to us yesterday.

Afterwards, we met up with Madame Oui’s old, long unseen, friend Deborah. She took us to a bohemian wine bar, The Vinery (or Winery?), where after paying €1 for a glass, you can drink as much as you want and you pay only what you think it was worth. We had a couple of glasses and talked about all sorts of things. I was intrigued to learn more about how Deborah became an expat foreign journalist for AFP.

After drinks, we went to a restaurant and had very thin and tasty pizzas. It was near a lovely Catholic cathedral, not made of grey stone but more red brick. During the war the priest was outspoken against the Nazi regime. He was sent to a concentration camp and died there.

The neighbourhood was in northeast Berlin, and it would be nice to return sometime during the day for a stroll.

We got back to our hotel late and tired.

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