After a late Sunday night we took it easy on Monday 13 and did some serious organising for the second half of our stay in Berlin. More wandering in different parts of the city is what we are keen to do. Berlin has very distinct areas and they all are interesting. We began that today by walking for a few hours in what is called the Tiergarten Estate.
We started off in the middle of Berlin where the wall stood in Potsdamer Place. There stand about 5 pieces of wall, standing right where it was. Then a short walk to Tiergarten. It is a huge area of garden in central Berlin – like the Botanic Garden in Melbourne, but much less cultivated. It has huge areas of rhododendrons and roses and is heavily treed. At present it is still looking like winter – so almost no leaves on the trees, and blossoms are only just beginning. We were thrilled to find some bulbs just opening – daffodils and crocuses. In the centre is the Victory Column, initially designed after 1864 to celebrate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian war. By the time it was inaugurated in 1873 Prussia had also defeated Austria in the war of 1866, and France in the war of 1870/71, giving the column a new purpose. Bismark was the key Prussian leader at the time. These victories marked the establishment of a unified German state for the first time, under Prussian leadership.
Note. You might be as vague as us about Prussia – as it doesn’t exist today. It included parts of many countries of today – Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic and Switzerland and was the leading Germanic state at its peak. It was based on a Duchy from 1525, a union with Brandenburg from 1618, a kingdom in 1701, a free state of Prussia in 1918. Prussia’s independence was lost in 1934 (due to the rise of Hitler and the 3rd Reich) and then was formally abolished in 1947. The historians among you might want to clarify some of our potted history. Please do.
The walk across the estate is around 4 km, and involves a lot of wandering, so it took all afternoon. Very pleasant on a 9 degree day.