After visiting Berlin’s Victory column we jumped a bus and found we were riding the 200 bus which meant we reached Potsdamerplatz and its shops. There we found the Sony building which had three extraordinary features – its domed roof a lego giraffe and the Corroboree Restaurant. We all felt a cringe to find an Australian Restaurant calling itself “Coorboree” so we moved on. The menu did not appeal as a genuine Australian restaurant. We found an underground shopping centre which exhibited a series of photos showing Potsdamerplatz during the cold war with the Wall intact and the celebrations after the Wall came down. In the background you can see the Esplande Hotel which had been the mecca for high society prior to WWII. My last photo shows the same site today.
Our plan was to hop off the bus at Potsdamnerplatz and make our way to the Monument for the Murdered Jews of Europe. Although we had visited the monument during our Segway tour we had not visited the information centre below the monument. It does not take too much to realise this is not a place of joy. Tragic tales of individuals and families as well as the history of the development of the Final Question does not make for enjoyable reading – just the opposite – it horrifies just how wide spread the camps for the detention of Jews were across Europe. I put down my camera as this was not the place to be taking happy snaps.
We needed a lift after that. So, we walked passed the US Embassy back door to the Brandenburg Gate to pick up a bus and found the Gate was cordoned off – some big wig was due to arrive and the whisper among the assembled crowd was that it was Charles and Camilla. This made sense – tucked in beside the Gate is the US Embassy beside which is the French and around the corner the UK Embassy. We determined how to circumnavigate the obstruction but as we did so the Royalists amongst us decided they needed to get a peek of the Royals.
Not so much me. I found a seat in the sun and waited. The others did get to glimpse the Royal couple (not quite sure what joy that brought) and then joined me. But this Regal interruption had also caused a disruption to the bus service. More shoe leather. Eventually we found a tram which we thought would take us to Ballhaus – the only remaining Berlin dance hall. Now the tram was not a problem but finding this relic was proving difficult. I spotted the Titanic Hotel and across the road Hostel Ballhaus Berlin – it is now backpacker accommodation with the dance hall not open tonight. However, there is a small dinghy bar claiming to be Berlin’s oldest surviving pub – it looked the real deal. So, to drown our sorrow we ordered some drinks and sat at a table in the beer garden when I spotted standing forlornly in the yard two sections of the Berlin Wall. I started looking closer and further into the yard were four more sections of the Wall. The bar keep told us that the owner of the pub had bought them following the destruction of the wall on the basis that they may be worth something one day. Well from what I have seen these bits of Wall are as rare as hen’s teeth and are probably worth more to buy than the entire pub. What a great find but no one was putting it in their handbag to take home.