Day 9: Berlin (20 Mar) #4

The Bundestrat building beside the Mall of Berlin.

Fed and watered, I continued down the street to the Mall of Berlin. I did check out the Toys R Us and SportScheck there, but there wasn’t anything that caught my eye or fit within my budget.

Coming out of the other side, I passed the Bundestrat building, heading to Potsdamer Platz where parts of the original Berlin Wall stand on exhibition. The actual wall did run through Potsdamer Platz in the past. You’ll find it hard to imagine with all the steel and glass monstrosities crowding the area now.

Potsdamer Platz was one of the ghost stations created by the split of Berlin. Now, it’s easily the most modern and lively place in the whole city.

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One thing to note in Berlin: Nearly every souvenir shop would offer ‘an authentic piece’ of the Berlin Wall for sale. Given the amount being sold, I’m still surprised that there’s any piece of the wall left standing.

After taking a break at Potsdamer Platz, I turned left onto Stresemannstrabe and took the second left, which took me past Berlin’s state parliament to the Topography of Terror.

The Wall with rounded tops to prevent people from climbing over it. You can’t get a solid grip on the rounded edge unless you’re Spiderman.

The Topography of Terror is a museum, with the main building adjacent to the wall exhibition shown in the pictures above and below. There’s also a trench exhibition showing the former basements (I think?) of the buildings that once stood there, including the SS Headquarters.

Why? The unanswered question.

Further down the road from the Topography of Terror, the entire place suddenly turned very touristy, with souvenir shops and little cafes targeting tourists lining every street and corner. There’s also this giant hot air balloon that you can take for a bird’s eye view of the city. There’s an entrance fee, and the balloon’s tethered, so don’t get any wild ideas of floating away into the sunset.

The balloon if I’m not mistaken, is one of the largest balloons in the world.
There’s also the Trabi museum there, and see that cranked coin press? It isn’t working, which is a bummer because I lost an Euro to it.

And finally, my last destination of the day: Checkpoint Charlie, comes into view as I round the corner.

Though defunct after the fall of the Wall, staff (not actual U.S. soldiers) turned the famous checkpoint into a tourist attraction.

Checkpoint Charlie was without a doubt, the most well known crossing of the Berlin Wall, with American tanks facing off against Soviet forces in the early days of the Wall. The area is now populated by museums and restaurants, including a McDonald’s. The ‘MP’s that you see manning the checkpoint now are staff actors that’ll take a photo with you for a fee.

I returned to my hotel via the U6 from Kochstrabe, changing at Leopoldplatz for the U9 to Osloer Strabe, and that’s scratch one for Berlin!

That’s 3.5km of walking, not to terrible innit?

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