I have discovered that I like planning city trips with my metro map in hand. Especially when time is short (as in this case) plotting how to get from one place to the other is fun. Starting from Stadt Mitte I can take number 2 directly to Alexander Platz and Potsdamer Platz. I can take number 6 to Hallesches Tor and switch to number 1 to reach the East Side Gallery at Schlesisches Tor. The possibilities are endless and no place is out of reach.
The Berlin metro, or U-Bahn looks sort of adorable. All bright yellow with the Brandenburg gate patterned across the window.
On my first trip on the U-Bahn I sat across a young woman engrossed in a book. With the patterned seats and the wooden interior as a background I could not help but sneak a quick shot of her.
Sony Centre at Potzdamer Platz
The Sony Center is one of the most extravagant pieces of modern architecture in Berlin. I tend to prefer old buildings but the special roof construction of the center is definitely worth seeing. Potzdamer platz was largely destroyed during the World War II and was an empty no man’s land during the cold war. The center was opened in 2000.
While the Sony Center is impressive in daytime, it is at night that you can see it at its best. The roof construction lights up and shifts colour, lending a magic feel to the whole place. It becomes a veritable modern wonderland. What draws us to cities, in this age of technology and consumerism, are the lights that give life to the city; the brightness and the glitter. The Sony Center is like a dazzling concentration of all the qualities that draw us to The City like moths to a flame.
Kurhaus Ponte Rosa
Berlin has many Beer Gardens – places to have a drink and something to eat under the canopies of trees. Kurhaus Ponte Rosa, the one I visited, was a magical place surrounded by forest, with lamps hanging from trees. Sitting there I felt a world a way from the streets of Brussels. As I do not drink beer I cannot judge the quality of the brews on offer, but the wine was good and the spicy pizza was very spicy and delicious.
Near the Hackescher Markt there is a number of interlocking courtyards with expensive shops. The complex is called Hackesche Höfe.
The expensive shops were out of my range (although I would have loved one of the 200 Euro raincoats), but I like wandering from one courtyard to another. It reminds me of my childhood in Helsinki were the courtyards in the Jugend style buildings are similarly linked, although you can seldom find 8 of them in a row. As I children exploring the courtyards of our neighbourhood was like an adventure, you never new what was beyond the next gate.
At Hackesche Höfe the first courtyard was the most impressive one, with beautiful mosaic walls, but the some of the others were charming green enclosures.
East Side Gallery
East Side Gallery is a piece of the Berlin Wall which is covered by more than 100 paintings by international artists. This 1.3 km long art exhibition serves as a memorial for freedom. It is a poignant reminder of the walls we build between each other (physical and otherwise) and the harm it causes all of us.