Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Berlin Arrival


"HALLO!" from Berlin, we've been too busy sightseeing to get a chance to blog at our normal pace, so let's do some catching up.

Monday was the day we started our "Second Madcap European Adventure 2010." We were scheduled to fly out of Copenhagen in the evening after arriving in the Danish capital by train. This train trip normally takes only 90 minutes but with all of the heat related SNAFUs that are continually disrupting the train schedules through Hässleholm, we left town six hours before our flight.

No need to worry as it turned out, the train got us into Kastrup Airport right on time.

Now I need to digress slightly. About two years ago now, Jason Johnson, our former great QB in Catania, went on a trip up the Amazon River basin to film a series of commercials for a company that was starting to market the Brazilian açaí berry. Jason explained to me that the açaí berry has all sorts of mysterious and magical health benefits as well as two very hip accent marks..

Swedes are known for their insanely health conscious lifestyle, except for the smoking part. In the Copenhagen airport I got to see a billboard that will forever join the açaí berry and Swedish health practices together in my mind.

PRESENTING . . .

The Absolute Distillery is only
40 minutes from Hässleholm

Health in a bottle!

Our flight was uneventful, but when we stepped off the plane we were blasted by oppressive heat and record humidity, i.e., great weather for fat guys. It didn't help that it does not cool off at night and that most of Berlin is not air conditioned!

Undaunted, we got on the bus to enter this Cold War treasure of a city for the first time.

The back of the Reichstag

Germany's Parliament building, it was inaugurated in 1894. It would be mysteriously burned down in 1933 with Adolf Hitler blaming the Communists for starting the fire. Hitler used this conflagration as big time leverage in his grab for ultimate power.

The Berlin Wall Victims

This Memorial commemorates those who died illegally trying to cross the Berlin Wall out of East Berlin between 1961 and 1989. The Wall ran between the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate across the street.

Same Memorial, more victims

The Brandenburg Gate

Built in 1791, it is the last remaining of the original 14 city gates.

We are standing in West Berlin, the Berlin Wall would have been right in front of us with the Brandenburg Gate sitting in East Berlin.

In the Pariser Platz

The Brandenburg Gate in the twilight viewed from the old East Berlin side.

Laurie giving you some perspective on the
Brandenburg Gate's massive scale

The light spots are
World
War II
damage repair

The Brandenburg Gate at night

Sorry to be repetitive, but this is such an important sight for 20th century historians.

It was after midnight and we knew we'd have a very full day ahead of us so we decided to call it a night and charge up our batteries.

"TSCHÜSS!"

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