We needed something a little lighter after the sombre nature of the Topography of Terror so after a welcome Jagertee (rum, black tea, red wine, plum brandy, orange juice and various spices) beloved of skiers everywhere, we ended up taking in some other sites, which were easier on the palette over the next 24 hours.
A quick walk up the straße from Potzdamer platz is the Brandenburg gate which we timed getting to perfectly as the sky was turning into the perfect backdrop of colour to give this edifice a brooding look. Erected between 1788-91, the Quadriga atop the monument was added later and later taken back to Paris by Napoleon before being returned after his defeat. Later on used as a Nazi party symbol, the gate survived albeit in a severely damaged state and was gradually restored throughout the years.
As I sat on the steps of the tourist information centre desperately trying to drink in and memorise all of the features for writing this up, it was pleasant to be an observer and see the natives oblivious to the gawping tourists taking photographs and to the gate itself as they went upon their way not paying heed to the familiar landmark. Just the opposite side of the gate was the busy and competitive rush hour traffic, the gate seemed to be a barrier against this madness to the orderly and polite sightseers appreciating the history and ambience of the place whilst avoiding the obligatory cyclists.
The next day after train hopping around the city we came across what is left of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church right in the heart of the shopping centre. Building commenced in 1881 and the church eventually took looked like this:
After being smashed by Allied air raids it presently looks like this…
The inside of the church which had a small museum also had a rich, Roman style feel to the decoration, they don’t make art work like this anymore.
Architecturally refreshed we randomly wandered through the Tiergarten and with our trusty map that showed us landmarks but didn’t actually explain what any of them were, we were surprised to find the 67m (219ft) Berlin Victory Column which combines sculpture and a whole lot of stairs.
We climbed this big tower and our calves reminded us for a long time after, which was a good excuse for another Jagertee.
The stairs are pretty narrow so a degree of politeness is needed when traversing thems o when some woman barged past me as I was descending with no regard for anybody but herself, I put on my best earnest face and told her she was didn’t have far left to go to the top, needless to say she had quite a trek left.
Not a bad view for €3 and a oppurtune place to finish this post.