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Our 3 Rs in Berlin: Reichstag, Rittersport, River Cruise

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Day 2
We started our first full day in Berlin with a visit to the Reichstag dome at 9 AM.


We left early to grab a breakfast pastry on the way and allow time for transit mishaps, though I am happy to report that this day only had one: a line that was closed for the direction we wanted at that stop.

Visiting the Reichstag takes planning: you request a time online, confirm the request, and arrive with passports and your confirmation notice 15 minutes ahead of time to go through the security checkpoint. It was worth it, though. There are some great views of the city on the roof of the Reichstag.


And the dome structure is pretty cool, with the opening at the top,


the mirrored center column, and the windows that let you peer down into parliamentary proceedings.


After visiting the dome, we headed to Checkpoint Charlie for some photos.


Then we visited the Topography of Terror Museum. There is a lot here, which is the good and bad of it. It would take at least 2 hours to read everything. As it was, I tried to focus on the main explanations in the exhibit and it took a while. DD1 is interested in world history and would have been happy reading every caption, but DD2 got bored and even before we got there said that she didn’t know why we would go to about a museum about “the bad guys” (we explained the idea of learning so we do our part to make sure nothing like the Holocaust happens again). I would say that this place is best for ages 12 and up. It did a really good job of showing how the German public was on the receiving end of propaganda from the very start of the Hitler regime to make them more complacent about giving up rights and the mistreatment of anyone considered to be an enemy of the German state. It also goes into detail about all the groups that they considered to be enemies. In US schools we learn about the treatment of the Jews and hear that other groups (Slavs, homosexuals, etc.) were also persecuted and sent to concentration camps. The exhibits mention every group, even one I hadn’t heard about before: the “work-shy”, who were unemployed or underemployed in the eyes of the regime. The outside had an exhibit on Berlin in the war years as well.


We followed up with lunch, some down time at the hotel, a visit to a neighborhood grocery store, and then a quick dinner.

Day 3
Today we had our scheduled workshop at RitterSport chocolate. Joining us in the workshop were about 8 kids who looked to be 5 years old and their teachers. I felt awkward for doing the workshop at my age for a few seconds, but then I remembered that they have tickets specifically for ages 14 and up. If they don’t want grown-ups there, they shouldn’t sell us tickets!

At the workshop, we created 2 identical bars and a “test bar” between the molds. We chose the type of chocolate (white, milk, dark) and up to 3 mix-ins. We made:

White chocolate with cornflakes and salted caramel (DH)

White chocolate with fruity puffed rice, marshmallows, and mini chocolate candies (DD2)
(Photo credit DD2)

Milk chocolate with strawberry, fruity puffed rice, and marshmallow (DD1)

Dark chocolate with corn flakes, marshmallows, and mango/passion fruit. (Me)

We have tasted our bars and are pretty happy with them!

There was a rainbow of chocolate choices in the store as well!

After lunch we visited the Berlin Wall Memorial in the northern part of the city. It has a segment of the Death Zone as well as the wall intact.


There is also a memorial there for the people who lost their lives at the wall.

There are 2 short films at the Visitor‘s Center in German and English. We entered a German one because Rick Steve’s said they had English subtitles. They did not! Fortunately that film was a 3D overview of the wall area, so we still got something out of just the visuals. The next one was in English with German subtitles and went over the history of the wall. Maybe Rick Steves had it backwards?

Day 4
This afternoon we took a cruise along the Spree River. It was fun to get a different perspective on the city. Pics below show the cathedral and bridges connecting government buildings.


Then we visited Alexanderplatz to see the World Time Clock, which had the wrong time for everywhere but Berlin!

(Berlin is shown correctly on the regular clocks at the bottom.)

DH learned the clock gears powered by an old Trabi transmission, so he’s blaming it on that!

From there, we checked out the East Side Gallery. Shortly after the fall of the wall, the city decided to turn a stretch of it into an outdoor art gallery. The artists were invited to refresh their work around 2008 to help with preservation, and all but 5 did. There was a lot of interesting art to see!


We leave early tomorrow for Munich. We definitely enjoyed our time here, and I would like to return someday.

Posted by amikulski 20:33 Archived in Germany Tagged art children chocolate river germany berlin wall reichstag families

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