Familiarisation

On the basis of good advice from our Home Exchange partners in North Melbourne, we kicked off on our monthly transport tickets by taking one bus (number 100) through the centre of the city, and transferring to another (the 200) which took us to a suburban terminus to the north-west. On returning the 200 took us back towards home via Potsdam Platz and the Philharmonie Concert Hall.

We are located to the west of the city, just south of the Zoological Gardens. We started the day with our first visit to the market at our Underground Station, Wittenberg Platz.  Delightful! Reminds us of Campo di Fiori in Rome where the markets are set up in the morning and cleared away in the afternoon.  Fish, cheese, leather gloves for Al, nuts, and vegetables from a very friendly couple (tossing in samples of bananas and apples and a dill pickle to savour) soon filled our bags.  Dropped our purchases home then set off for the five minute walk past Wittenberg Platz to the 100 bus.  We were taken on a route through the Tiergarten (a delightfully large woodsy Royal Park, to Melbournians). This huge area must be amazing when the trees begin to get their leaves again. Also went past the Victory Monument to mark the Prussian victory over the French in 1871 and the first appearance of something like a unified nation. Parliament (the Reichstag), and the well-known Brandenburg Gate next helped us get our bearings. Down the Main Street – Unter den Linden – we came across Humboldt University, the History Museum, Museum Island (yet to be explored), and the State Opera House. After transferring to the 200 at Alexander Platz, we discovered that we were travelling through quieter suburban residential areas. What’s striking to an Australian is that Berlin residences are located in mostly 5 or 6 story blocks with small stretches of open, treed, courtyard between blocks. The majority, I would say, are post WWII buildings, constructed where older buildings were flattened during the war. We do need to get a better grasp of the evolution of Berlin, and are planning on getting to a nearby museum to get just that story.

We returned all the way on the 200, enabling us to look again at the key landmarks as well as locating the Philharmonie where we have booked a performance for the 12th. Next door is the Chamber Music Hall which we have yet to check out for some other performances. It’s great having four weeks in which we can give Berlin a thorough once-over.

The 200 terminus in our direction is the Zoological Gardens Platz, so like locals we dropped down to the Underground, travelled the one stop to Wittenberg Platz, and walked the 10 minutes to home. A very effective orientation exercise for day 2 which we would recommend to anyone visiting Berlin.

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