On Wednesday morning we had an appointment at the Reichstag at 9.15 am. Once our names had been checked against the list, we were herded en-masse through various electronic security doors and into a lift to the viewing platform beside the dome designed by Sir Norman Foster. Unfortunately the dome was closed this week for cleaning – they’d heard we were coming but thought it was next week! This platform provided a fantastic vantage point for looking over all of Berlin. It is possible to identify the old East by the number of cranes visible on the skyline.
Next we headed to the Holocaust Memorial. It covers 19,000 sq feet next to the Brandenburg Gate and comprises an undulating field of concrete slabs ranging in height from 0.2m to 4.0m.
Next we headed to Hackescher Markt area and visited the Hackescher Hofe, a complex of nine interconnecting courtyards surrounded by tall and beautifully proportioned buildings.
This was once at the heart of the Jewish district and we passed the Gedenkstatte memorial in Grosse Hamburger Strasse commenting Berlin’s jews murdered in the Holocaust.
The heavens opened while we were enjoying lunch in the Hackescher Markt and we made a dash for the underground and for KaDeWe, the largest department store in Europe. It opened in 1907 with a slogan ‘In our shop a customer is king and the King is a customer’. It was fascinating walking through the store, especially the food hall which must be a gourmet’s paradise as there didn’t appear to be anything they didn’t stock. Without a king’s salary, we couldn’t afford to shop there! Here we said ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Fi and Vic as they headed off to Poland.
We headed back towards the hotel but stopped off at The Bauhaus Store. From outside this store didn’t look much but inside was a different story. It was like IKEA, B&Q, Wickes, Halfords, Staples, Midland Chandlers, and lots more, all under one roof. The catalogue of things it sells comprises nearly 2000 pages of very small print! It was heaven! It sold things that I wouldn’t know where to buy in the UK! All the shelves were fully stocked, and the choice of each item was unbelievable. We spent nearly two hours wandering round and only left when the store started to close. It was a good job we didn’t have the car with us as I think we would have bought a tow bar and a trailer and filled it full.