Berlin Climate Protest March and the Berlin Dom

Day 26, Friday, September 20, 2019

We are going to visit the Berlin Dom today and climb the dome for a view of the city, then head home. An easy day is in order.

However, we wondered what was going on when the metro didn’t stop at the Brandenburg Gate Station. When we got off at the next station this is what we saw…people marching for as far as we could see to protest climate change  Many of the roads downtown are blocked to traffic. We stand and watch for a while…and then decide that we need to take part so we joined the protestors. Here is a short video of us marching.  It was an amazing experience to be part of this march. There are lots of children here.  We think that schools must have closed for the day, as there are many groups of school children marching with banners. There are older people, grandparents with their grandchildren, mothers with babies, families, lots of teenagers and young adults.  It gave me hope that maybe, just maybe people are paying attention to what we are doing to our world.  It was a very emotional experience.The march is going in the opposite direction, away from the Berlin Dom, so we step to the sidewalk and spend the next hour watching the people march by.  Imagine crowds like in the pictures below walking by steadily for more than an hour, and there was still no end in sight.
We think that there has to be more than 100,000 people protesting here, people of all ages, and ethnicities. Here is another short video that gives an idea of the enthusiasm and passion of these protestors.  The protest march continued but we thought we better go do the last bit of our sightseeing in Berlin. The Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Dictatorship below held just one piece of sculpture, Käthe Kollwitz’s famous ‘Mother with Dead Son’, created in 1938. It has quite an impact, all alone in this big stark space.  I discover there is a Käthe Kollwitz museum, but it is not nearby and we have run out of time in Berlin.  Too bad, I love her drawings and would have liked to have seen them. Just across the street we see a very colourful exhibit and head over to find out what it is…7,000 pompoms that form a ‘Wall of Love” installation.

Right across from the pompoms is this absolutely enormous Platane tree.  I think this is the same kind of tree that is on the boulevards by our apartment.  It has a  30 metres spread! Bob wanted to find the plaque in a nearby square where the Nazis burned 25,000 books in 1933. There is also a clear glass panel that looks down below the square onto a room filled with empty bookcases.  The glass was too cloudy to get a photo. Walking toward the Berlin Dom we pass the park we had our picnic lunch a few days ago.  There is no grass, only a packed gravel surface.  The parks in European cities are used by so many people that grass would not survive. Finally we arrive at the Berlin Dom, much later than we had planned. This is a Protestant church that is every bit as ornate as the Catholic Churches we have visited in Europe. The dome above the altar is magnificent.  The Church was hit by a napalm bomb in the Second World War and the dome collapsed into the church. It was open to the elements for many years before it was finally restored to its former glory.This photo shows the bombed Berlin Dom. I had no idea how badly bombed Berlin was before we visited here.  This link shows some pictures of the damage. It must have seemed an impossible task to think of rebuilding such devastation. This is where we are climbing to. The 367 steps were worth it!  Here are some of the views from the dome. We can hear music from way up here. Turns out it is this fellow far below. He is the person on the left side of this bridge with a guitar case on the ground in front of him.  I even zoomed in a bit to take this photo.  It was surprising how clearly we could hear all the words of his song. The park area in front of the Berlin Dom and the Altes Museum. Bob is getting to be quite the photographer. Looking down some of the stairs we climbed.  At least they were good sturdy stairs, unlike some of the rickety belltower ones we have climbed in the past. Part way down there is a small museum with models of the church. The plaster and wooden models used to build the original church were used in the reconstruction of the church after it was bombed. We were way up there walking along the outside of the rectangular windows.  We weren’t sure if the buses were running after the protest march, so we walked back along the river towards the metro station On the way we see this parade of boats. Turns out is is another protest “march” with lots of music and dancing.  Take a look at the back of the boat in the second photo.  We wondered if it was about to sink, it was so low in the water. There were all sorts of spectators watching the boats. There are lots of beautiful big trees in Berlin. Just before we get to the metro we pass a store with hundreds of old sewing machines lining its windows.  Kind of neat reflections too.  It was a much longer day than we expected but I was so glad we got to see and take part, even for a bit, in the Climate March.  When we get home we discover that there were marches like this all around the world!  YAY!!  Finally people are realizing that we need to change the way we live.

 

 

The Gemäldegalerie, the Kunstgewerbe Museum and Life Drawing.

Day 25, Thursday, September 19, 2019

As we walked to the metro this morning, the interior of this car caught my eye! These workers are laying paving bricks for a huge plaza.  We have not seen poured cement sidewalks or plazas here, they are all made with paving stones.  It seems very labour intensive. The Gemäldegalerie is our first stop today.  This museum is near the Berlin Zoo and has one of the world’s leading collections of European paintings from the 13th to the 18th century. The quality of the artwork here is amazing.  This is the first painting we see, part of an altar from 1437 telling the story of Jesus on the left, and Mary on the right. The white ‘baseboard’ in the photo comes almost mid-thigh on me, to give you an idea of the scale of the works. The corner of one painting from 1444 shows two pregnant women, notice the babies depicted on their stomachs. I had never seen this symbolism before. We both liked the Fountain of Youth by Lucas Cranach, 1546. This is not the style of his work that I am familiar with… this is!  I have always wondered at this artist’s creativity. Wow!! This painting by Rogier van Der Weyen from 1440 is my absolute favourite of everything we have seen so far this trip. I absolutely love it and wish that the photo was able to convey the impact it has in person. I would have bought a print but it was almost $100 and I worried about getting it home safely. This is a painting I could live with forever.

There are so many interesting portraits here that I have never seen before.  Can you tell that I am drawn to portraiture?These two tomb figures, 510, were very endearing.
I am fond of Frans Hals portraits and there was a whole room of them. This artist must like them too.  What a tough way to work though, on a little stool, holding such a large drawing board.  I assume the museum does not allow easels. I am excited to see this Vermeer from across the room, but then.. I notice The Girl with the Pearl Earring.  I had no idea the this painting was in this museum. What a lovely surprise. Anna Dorothea Therbusch, 1721-1782, is one of the few women artists who actually made a living as an artist. This is a self portrait. There are Caravaggio’s here…and Georges de la Tours…
and Botticellis,
including this Botticellis Venus.And there are Rembrandts, including these two famous self portraits. I finally get to see these two tondos in person, the one on the left by Raffael (34″ diameter) and the one on the right by Botticelli (54″ diameter).  I particularly like the Botticelli, his Madonnas are always so beautiful. This was fun!  I am so glad we visited the Gemäldegalerie, it was quite amazing.After a picnic lunch we check out the Kunstgwerbe Museum nearby.  I would love to have this beautiful geometry set from the 16th century. This museum has lots of porcelain, furniture and church treasures, but we walk by all these. It is just too much to absorb. A few items did catch our eye though. This is an elaborate portable kitchen from 1807, maybe used for camping? All the info is in German, so not sure. These glazed porcelain figurines were part of a group of 15 that were awarded a gold medal at the 1900 International Exhibition in Paris.  There was also an exhibit on Afro Hair, with some very different displays. And finally, an interesting walk through women fashions through the ages.

Across the street we stop to see the Berlin Library.  It is enormous!  Probably the biggest I have ever visited. It was tough to get in though. Without a library card I had to get a special pass, and no one is allowed to carry a purse or backpack or other bag.  So everyone puts their stuff in clear plastic bags!  I don’t see the point of that all. So different from home. Oh and do you notice the card catalogues in the bottom photo?  I was surprised to see them. Whew! and we aren’t finished yet. We catch a bus back across town to visit the oldest church in Berlin but the interior has been updated so much.  It wasn’t what we were expecting, but still interesting. For some reason there was a rooster crowing inside the church?  No idea what that was about.We split up, Bob heads to the Bode Museum and I catch the metro to go life drawing.  I pass this post with just a few posters wrapped around it on my way to drawing.

Here are my drawings from tonight.  The first page is two minute poses and the times of the other poses are written on the pages.  This was a pretty full day!

Pergamon and Neues Museums, Berlin

Day 24, Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Berlin has lots of museums! We bought a three day Museum Pass which gives us unlimited entry to over thirty museums! Today we visit the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum.

This model is a reconstruction of the Temple of Babylon. There were some pieces of walls from this temple on display. I am often most drawn to small items in these exhibits, like these tiny ivory figures of mothers and their children, only about 3-4″ tall from 3000 BC.  I think they are incredibly detailed and beautiful. This is the processional way which led towards the 6th Century BC Ishtar Gate of Babylon.   It is very impressive. I loved this wooden sculpture. Here is another view of this approach that gives a better idea of the size..The reconstruction of the gate has original tiles around the animals. This is only a part of the gate, as the museum ceiling would have to be more than twice as high for the whole gate to fit.These two creatures guarded the Assyrian King in 883 BC.  These are casts from the originals in the British Museum, which were each carved from a single piece of alabaster.  No idea who the guy is…it was impossible to get a photo without some stranger in the middle of it! Times were tough for women. Take a peek at these laws from 3000 years ago.

The saying “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” comes from the laws carved in this pillar known as the Code of Hammurabi, from 1750 BC. This close up of one of the lions from the Ishtar Gate shows how the original pieces of tile were reassembled.
This is the condition of the tiles when they were unearthed.  Can you imagine trying to piece these thousands of bits together?Another huge structure in the museum is the 2nd Century AD Market Gate from Miletus. This is the largest historical monument that has been reconstructed indoors.  It is about 30 meters wide and 16 meters tall. This grand structure was only the entrance to a marketplace, although it looks more like a palace. This ivory box and horn were covered with intricate carvings. There were so many things to see and marvel over. This intricately carved ceiling is from the Alhambra in Spain. We saw other ceilings like this when we visited there a few years ago. The 8th Century Mshatta Facade is 33 metres long and 5 metres high with two towers and part of a central gateway. This decorated western part of the façade of the Umayyad Palace al-Mshatta was a gift to Germany from the Ottoman Sultan in gratitude for the construction of a railway.  There were 7 of these towers on each of the four sides of this enormous palace.  The Aleppo room was built as a reception room by a wealthy Christian merchant in Aleppo.  The paintings Illustrate Islamic floral and geometric designs, scenes from the Old and New Testament, and Persian book illustrations.

“The selection of decorative Psalms, Arabic proverbs and Persian principles which frame these scenes deepen the impression of a community of different religious beliefs living together peacefully. The room is a visual expression of this harmonious diversity.” ~Jenny Farrell

The old city in Aleppo is actually a Unesco World Heritage site.  However, their civil war has destroyed much of the city. This beautiful room would likely have been destroyed if it had not been moved to the museum. A view of the Alte National Gallery we visited yesterday. Next we visit the Neues Museum.  This building suffered severe damage during the Second World War.  In 2003 work began to restore the building without erasing the traces of past damage. We see evidence of this damage throughout the museum. Note the bullet and shrapnel holes in the pillars… and damaged areas in this room.There were many pieces of ancient papyrus from the 4th Century BC.  I find it astounding that these fragile documents have survived. Original paint remains on some of the Egyptian sculptures from 1290 BC! This is a room that was heavily damaged during the war. These three panels are all that is left of twelve panels that were on the walls of this courtyard. We actually visited the three Egyptian temples depicted on these walls during our trip there in 2011. 

The bust of Nefertiti (1,340 BC) is displayed alone, in the centre of a large room. No photos are allowed but no one objects to me drawing her. There are so many rooms filled with so many treasures.  It can be a bit overwhelming. I thought the teeth on this Homo Neanderthalensis were astonishingly white and cavity free! This elk from 10,700 BC was discovered during construction of one of the Berlin underground subways in 1956.
I forgot to post these sketches form the Altes Museum yesterday.

Altes Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Day 23, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Altes Museum displays treasures of the classical world with Greek, Etruscan and Roman art.

I often forget that the white marble Greek sculptures were originally painted in life-like colours. This fragment of a grave stele retains some of its original colour. We were surprised at the detail of some of the1,300 ancient coins on display. The museum has more than 150,000 coins in its collection! Bob snaps a photo of me sketching… and then notices the shadows behind this bust.  He is getting very ‘artsy’! This Greek vase from 350 BC showing Perseus slaying a sea monster with a sickle is quite different in design than most of the vases we have seen. The rotunda has a huge dome with a round skylight and has an incredible collection of sculptures on both levels. In the next room this rather unusual drinking cup, is titled Hetaera Above the Chamber Pot!
This Funerary Lion just makes me smile…and I love this statue of a mourning female servant from 330 B.C.There is so much to see here, room after room filled with beautiful art. The Torso of an Old Fisherman, from 200 B.C. is an example of Hellenistic sculpture representing ordinary people.
This statue of Aphrodite, 2nd Century B.C., is thought to be one of the most beautiful ancient terracottas in existence. I think this collection of Middle Class Women from 325-150 B.C. is amazing. They were about 8 ” tall and are so detailed.The Girl Playing Astragal, or knucklebone, is likely a funerary sculpture. These 3rd Century A.D.mummy portraits from Roman tombs in Egypt were a surprise. We had never seen anything like them.  They were painted with wax and tempera. Another sculpture filled room.We have seen Boy with a Thorn, or Spinario, several times in our travels…at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, in Rome and in Paris. In Rome we saw the original bronze sculpture that inspired the marble copies,  It is a favourite of mine. This looks like a painting, but it is actually a mosaic!  I held up a pen in the corner for scale so you can see how tiny the mosaics pieces are. This sad little boy was likely on a tomb for a child.

Next is a room with erotic pottery! On a long covered walkway to the next museum we see a wedding photo shoot.  The Alte National Museum in Berlin features Nineteenth Century art with works by famous painters and sculptors. These are a few paintings that caught my eye, all by German painters that I am not familiar with. There were several paintings that are only partly finished.  I found these very interesting, as it is possible to see how the artists approach the painting process. There were some Renoirs, Pissaro’s and Carravagios, as well as Rodin’s The Thinker. This sculpture was so lifelike and the pose was so natural. There is so much to see, and we have been at these two museums for over five hours! This is the Alte National Museum, seen from the covered walkway. As we walk to the bus we pass the Berliner Dom, the largest church in Berlin.  This photo somehow makes me think of Notre Dame in Paris.  I am went drawing tonight at a Meet Up Life Drawing session. Our model, Josephine, was very tall and thin which was challenging to draw. These are two minute poses.

            A two and a five minute pose

A five and ten minute pose.

Ten minute and twenty minute poses.

And finally two twenty minute poses. 

Bob went to visit a German Spy Museum while I was drawing. He saw an Enigma machine and failed a spy aptitude test. I guess he is not James Bond material!  On the way home I capture our reflections in the subway window.
This is something we don’t see at home…taking your IKEA purchase on public transportation!  It has been a long busy day and we are both a bit tired.

The DDR and Stasi Museums in Berlin

Day 22, Monday, September 16, 2019

Some of the subway stations in Berlin are quite grand, with their vaulted steel and glass ceilings, like the one we were at this morning.

I have finally begun drawing people on the subway.  It is often difficult to find a subject who won’t notice me drawing them. I like to use a Bic Fine Ballpoint pen for these subway drawings. A pen forces me to commit to what I put down, no erasing makes it challenging.

We are on our way to the DDR Museum, which is a museum about what life was like in East Berlin before the Wall fell. I wasn’t interested in going so Bob went to the museum and I found a place to sit and draw St. Mary’s Church.

Bob discovered a few interesting facts. The most surprising is that East Berliners were ardent nudists!   Four out of five East Germans regularly went sunbathing in the nude, as illustrated in this poster in the museum.

It isn’t such a surprise that the East Germans were hard drinkers.  Per capita consumption was the equivalent to 286 bottles of beer and 23 bottles of spirits. The men and women of East Germany could drink all-comers under the table!  This was a typical living room bar cabinet. We saw these Trabants on the way to the DDR museum.  While there Bob discovered that the cars’ bodies were made from a material called Duroplast.  This was a composite material made from cotton fleece and granulated phenol, which was heated under pressure and formed into a rigid component for use on the exteriors of the cars.While walking to a nearby park to draw I passed this store dedicated to the Ampelmann, the little character that lets pedestrians know when it is safe to walk. While I sat drawing the church I watched these young ladies walk out onto the nearby fountain for some photos. I quickly got my camera out because I knew what was going to happen next.
Surprise!!  I laughed so hard, as did all their friends! We had a picnic lunch and then headed to the Stasi Museum. This museum is located on the former grounds of the headquarters of the GDR State Security. We had a two hour tour that talked about how the lives of the East Germans were controlled, manipulated and repressed by the political police system of the former East Germany.  Seems like everyone was spying and informing on everyone else, and almost every aspect of people’s lives was controlled by the state.  It must have been impossible to trust anyone.  Most of the exhibits were like this office room below, not very interesting I thought, but our guide’s talk was very interesting. He told us anecdotes about his life as well as his parents and grandparents lives during this time.  I hung out at the back of our tour group and did some sketching of people in the tour while I listened.

There were hidden cameras everywhere in East Germany, documenting what people did, who they talked with and where they went.  Here are some hidden cameras in a bird house, behind a button, and in a watering can with a false bottom.

There were even hidden cameras in tree trunks to spy on people if they took walks in the forest!  The really sad and scary thing is that there are people today that think that a dictatorship government would be better than the democracy they now have. They think that they would just need better leaders and they would be better off.  It is hard to imagine that anyone could think going back to anything like this could be beneficial!

In the Magdalenenstrasse subway station on our way home we see a series of 20 large scale paintings done in a neo-expressionist style: angular, grim with bits of bright colour. They images, competed in 1986, portray the history of the workers movement in East Berlin.  Our guide at the Stasi Museum pointed out a painting in the museum by Wolfgang Frankenstein, who was one of the artists who made these murals,

 

 

East Side Gallery and Mauer Park, Berlin

Day 21, Sunday, September 15, 2019

The 1,316 meter long East Side Gallery is the longest open Art gallery in the world and it is also the longest surviving piece of the Berlin Wall. 118 artists from 21 countries began painting the East Side Gallery immediately after the wall came down and it officially became an open air gallery in 1990.

The sign says: Erection of the Wall, 1961, Fall of the Wall, 1989, Painting of the wall, 1990 and Restoration of the Wall 2009

Walk along the wall with us.

A Trabant, cleverly painted to look like it’s breaking through the wall is a well known image. We see a white Trabant soon after seeing this.  The graffiti n the back-side of the East Side Gallery is interesting too.
We stop for a snack and listen to some music along the banks of the Spree River before continuing our walk along the open air gallery.

Honecker and Brezhnev in a ‘brotherly socialist kiss’ is another famous image.

At the end of the wall we walk across the historic Oberbaum Bridge.Apparently all the hanging shoes are street art.
Next we take one of the old trams to Mauer Park which is the site of a huge flea market and a gathering place for Berliners and tourists alike. There are people everywhere!
The people on the hillside are watching karaoke performances, which happen here every Sunday. There is also an ongoing 3 on 3 Basketball game in the foreground.  Did I mention that there are people everywhere?  Bob figures probably over 20,000 people in the park today and I think we are older than 99% of them! After sampling some of the food trucks wares, we make our way up to the karaoke viewing on the hillside and have fun watching the performers. Some were not the best, but the audience was very supportive and everyone gets a big round of applause.  Here is a video of the first performer we saw.  In a few places I now realize I need to move the camera a bit more slowly when panning, but take a look. This lady was selling some rather interesting pins, and offered to let me take her photo for a small donation, and yes, they were those kind of dicks! This guy from the Dominican Republic got a great round of applause, but more for his dancing than his singing.
Some of our fellow audience members.  One of the performers from Afganistan got lots of people up dancing.The flea market was closing by the time we got around to visiting it. As we passed by this booth I overheard a guy say to his girlfriend “All these glasses and you still can’t see my point of view!”
There were lots of groups of performers. Here is one video and here is another. I can’t figure out how to edit them, so just stop watching when you have seen enough. This sign on an artist’s booth makes me laugh.  Today was a nice change from the sight seeing we have been doing. It was really relaxing, a lot of fun, and great people watching!.

Berlin Zoo

Day 20, Saturday, September 14, 2019

It is a beautiful sunny day, a perfect day to go to the zoo. I liked this large sculpture at the subway station near Potsdam Platz. It looks like wood but I think maybe it is cast to resemble wood.

We were here before but I wanted to get a photo of Bob with one foot in what used to be East Berlin and one foot in West Berlin. The cobble stone line marks where the Berlin Wall used to stand. Another view of the very unique Sony Centre. We catch the 100 Bus to the zoo near here. First stop at the Berlin Zoo is the Panda enclosure. Unfortunately we don’t get to see any real pandas but there is a video of Meng Meng and her new babies. You can watch it here.

We have our picnic lunch on a bench near this fountain. It reminds me of the famous Manneken Pis fountain in Brussels. I love blue flowers and these are gorgeous, but no idea what they are called.  Does anyone know?
The Berlin Zoo is Germany’s oldest zoological garden and home to the world’s largest variety of species. Almost 20,000 animals of around 1,300 species live in the 33 hectare zoo. For some reason at least 19,000 of them were in hiding today!!  Here are some of the animals who were kind of enough to stay in view for us. This large male Mandrill monkey has formidable teeth. The Emperor Tamarin has to be one of the cutest monkeys I have ever seen. The baboons were tucked far away in the rocks but I zoomed in for a photo.This young man was engrossed in his book, and not interested in the animals at all. I tried to see what he was reading but the title was small and in German.
Bob found a friend.
This African porcupine was up nice and close, finishing off his lunch. Luckily the elephants were out and about. This is Victor, a 26 year old bull, and a female from his harem.
She came over to say hi, extending her trunk out towards me! I took lots of reference photos of the elephants and spent a bit of time sketching them live.

These are the other two females in Victor’s harem.  Each day he chooses who to hang out with in a separate enclosure.  The young elephant is Victor’s daughter. I love giraffes too, but they were a bit too far away to easily see and draw.Look carefully.  How many Asiatic Ibex can you spot in this photo?  Can you find all nine of them? When our oldest daughter was about three years old she kissed on of these Marmots on the nose!  He was standing up on a stone retaining wall and she just walked up to it and gave it a peck.  Kind of scared us though! In the hippo exhibit this big fellow opened his mouth wide and made a huge splash before sinking out of sight.  Perhaps his way of letting all the visitors know what he thought of them?  The Nyalas are interesting with their distinctive white stripes. There were several sloth bears but they were all in separate enclosures. Perhaps they aren’t very sociable. This fellow was pacing back and forth continuously. We saw several animals exhibiting repetitive behaviours which we know is a sign of stress from being in captivity.  That is hard to see but this zoo, like many others we have visited, is building bigger more natural habitats for their animals.  We also see attempts to keep animals engaged with different ways of offering them their food and ‘toys’ for them in their enclosures.  It is a trade off.  Without the protection and breeding programs of zoos some of these animals would perhaps be extinct. We saw lots of Gemsbok when we were in South Africa. It was amazing to see them in their natural habitat. I have soft spot in my heart for zebras. Just love their stripes!This was a new species for us, the Mountain Bongo.  Their legs seemed too small for the bulk of their bodies, but they were very striking, with their white stripes agains their reddish hides. There are only 100 of these animals left in the wild!  Interesting fact…the red pigment in their hides can bleed in the rain! I forgot to take a photo of the main gate when we arrived but took one of the side gate where we exited the zoo.

The Reichstag Building Dome, The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and Checkpoint Charlie

Day 19,  Friday, September 13, 2019

Our day starts back at the Brandenburg gate. The gate is a popular gathering point for tourists. This fellow was dressed interestingly, turns out he is Austria’s Mr. Fetish 2019! We walk to the Reichstag Building which houses the German Parliament. We are required to show passports and go through security screening before we are allowed into the building.  After riding an elevator with 30 other people we arrive at the dome. Can you find us in the reflections?Admission to the dome is free, but we needed to register for tickets three days in advance. 6,000 people visit here every day. We walk up a 230 meter ramp and our audioguide provides a lot of interesting information about the dome, the German parliament and what we see outside the dome.
A view of the 368 meter high TV tower we walked by yesterday. It is the tallest tower in the European Union.The greenish domes beside it belong to the Berlin Cathedral, which is Berlin’s largest church. Looking down from the ramp.  The 360 mirrors on this column reflect light down into the parliamentary chambers below the dome. A view of the Sony Building where the giant giraffe was located. The yellow building is the Berlin Philharmonic which is said to have one of the best orchestras in the world. At the top of the dome is a 10 meter diameter opening which provides fresh air.  Rain falls through it into the cone and is recycled. The warmth of the stale air rising in the dome is recovered by this cone and used to heat the building, along with 300 square metres of solar panels. The dome is 40 metres wide and opening at the top is 54 metres off the ground. It is very impressive. The sky is getting very dark outside and the wind has picked up.  I think we might get wet! If you look at the square in front of the lady in black pants in this picture you might be able to make out the members of Parliament sitting below the dome. They look like little whitish spots.

Here is a close up.

This photo of a photo shows what the Parliamentary chamber looks like lit by mirrors in the dome above. You can also see the emblem of the German government on the wall. Interestingly it is an eagle, which is the same as the national emblem of the United States.A view towards the Brandenburg gate and the Jewish Memorial which is the grey area beside the white building. Walking down from the top of the dome, we are on a ramp which is in-between the up ramp.  You can see people walking in different directions, some going up, some going down.
It is cold and wet when we get outside. The inscription reads “The German People” We pass this building under construction. The inside is completely gutted.  A new modern interior will be built but the exterior will be preserved. We see other buildings undergoing this process. We walk to one of the nearby train stations to find a place to eat a late lunch and we are pleasantly surprised to find the sun is shining when we come back outside. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a 19,000 square metre site covered with 2,711 grey concrete slabs, or stelae ranging in height from 8″ to 15′. It is situated on part of  the former Berlin Wall Death Strip. There are 54 x 87 rows of these 7′ x 3′ long stelae, and the ground between rows is uneven and undulating.  There is an information centre with displays and a list of names of 3,000,000 of the Jews who were killed in the Holocaust but we did not go inside.  This is a sombre place, but something seems missing. The walls of names of the Holocaust victims that we saw at Auschwitz had a stronger impact on me than this memorial site. Walking towards Checkpoint Charlie we pass some of the many electric scooters that are scattered around the city. People ride these in on sidewalks and in traffic, sometimes two people on a single scooter!  Seems kind of dangerous to me and the busses honk their horns at them all the time! A photo on a street display showing the Berlin Wall and the Death Strip near the Reichstag Building . We stop for a rest at Checkpoint Charlie Beach!  Where Bob tries a very strange hotdog, filled with mashed potato and lettuce. He said it wasn’t very good.
A photo on the street of Checkpoint Charlie during a military standoff with the Soviets in 1961. This checkpoint grew in stature over the years. This photo is from 1989.We come across pieces of the Berlin Wall in several locations along our route today. Checkpoint Charlie from the Soviet side, looking to the American side… and from the American side looking toward the Soviet side. After all the heavy stuff we saw today we have to laugh as this vehicle full of very loud beer drinking young men goes down the street!  It is powered by the peddling of the drinkers onboard. A interesting building on our way to the metro station. This interesting link shows 14 Cold War images and how these locations have changed today. Near home we come across this demonstration against far right extremists. We have seen several of these protests and they are always accompanied by a heavy police presence, no matter how small the rally.  Actually, we found that there is a heavy police presence everywhere is Berlin. This is one of the tiniest cars I have ever seen. it only holds one passenger.