(backdated to 21 January 2013; written 26 January 2013)
Monday morning, still cold in Berlin and now lightly snowing. We’ve checked the flight schedules and the only flights canceled are heading to Paris. It’s still early. Anything could happen.
After cramming everything into our meager carry on luggage and stowing it at the hotel reception, we head back into the center of Berlin for one last look around. DB had never seen the Reichstag or the Brandenburg Gate so that’s where we went, via the UBahn. I had to take this photo, just for the U2 sign.
I had been here 12 years ago with my parents. That was pre-9/11 and security was light and not noticeable. Now if you want to visit the inside of this building you have to sign up in advance and go through a separate security building first. We didn’t know that and so didn’t go inside. I’m glad we did those 12 years ago. I have a really nice photo I took inside the glass dome on top – I’ll have to go find it on a CD somewhere.
You can see how cold and windy it was. No time to hang around. We then walked to the Brandenburg gate, just a block away. Yes, it is tall.
It’s very impressive. As DB said, when you see buildings and monuments in Berlin, you realize how small and cozy the Netherlands is. We are a speck in comparison. Oh, that will lead to a whole other blog post I’m sure.
We still had a lot of time to kill before heading to the airport so I suggested we walk down Unter den Linden towards the Berlin Dom. I was feeling nostalgic. This is where I went with my parents those many years ago. It was green and sunny then. At that time, just like now, there was building construction going on everywhere. I sometimes complain that Amsterdam seems to be continually under construction and it is annoying and makes for a stressful environment in a city. It’s nothing compared to Berlin. They have so many years of destruction to make up for.
Finally we made it to the Dom and went inside. We walked around and I took photos. It was pretty quiet – not so many tourists this time of year. We followed the tour route to the upper levels, finally walking around the base of the dome itself, looking out the little windows at the top. Here are some photos.
The little museum that explains the history of the Dom is very interesting. I also found the crypt interesting, with caskets from the 16th century and caskets of German kings and queens.
And then it was time to leave. We walked a bit further to Alexander Platz and took S and U Bahns to get back to the hotel, collect our belongings and then back on the S Bahn to the airport. We discovered that our flight was still planned on time and all systems were go.
That is, until an hour before the flight was to leave. Then we were delayed by 30 minutes. Then we were told to go to a gate where we stood around for nearly an hour waiting for the inbound plane to arrive! Why we were packed into a small room before the inbound flight had even gotten to Berlin is a mystery. They obviously know when the plane will arrive – it’s not out there circling around for the fun of torturing passengers.
Our flight was supposed to leave at 6pm and finally at 7pm we boarded the plane. And THEN we were told that there was a problem with the navigation display and an engineer was working on fixing it. There we sat for another 30 minutes. And after that was fixed we were told that the plane was iced up and had to wait in a queue to be de-iced. Well, I’m all in favor of de-icing so didn’t complain about that. In the end, we took off from Berlin just before 9pm. You know what that means, right? Right! More knitting time! I got a lot done on my sock during this delay. Photos to come.
Just to add insult to injury (a handy phrase given to use by Shakespeare), when we got to Schiphol, we faced train delays. We were lucky to get the trains we got and finally got home at 11pm. Phew! What a day! From the Reichstag in the snow and cold, to my warm and cozy bed. Very tired and happy to be home.
I have more Berlin photos in a Set on Flickr if you are interested. You can find them here.