Friday 23 Sep 11 - Friday 23 Sep 11
I had a bit of a lie in the next morning, a bit weary from a couple of long days, but I eventually got moving and got the S-bahn into town.
My camera charger was one of the things in the missing bag, and the battery was now starting to run down, so the first thing I did was go to a camera shop and attempt to buy a new charging machine. They didn’t have the specific type, but tried to sell me an all-in-one type of thing for a ridiculous amount, which I later found out wouldn’t even have worked.
I walked up Tauentzienstraβe, as one does, and unfortunately found the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche closed. The famous zoo next door, which includes such international celebrities as Bao Bao the panda, didn’t really tickle my fancy when there’s so much else to do, but I did have a look at the Tiergarten, a huge park right in the city centre.
A stroll through the delightful tree-lined paths took me to the musical instrument museum (de Musikinstrumenten-Museum Berlin), where Tom works as a conservationist. It was really good – there were grand pianos from the 15th Century decorated with grand scenes of nature on the inside of the lid, quarter-size violins that were used by dancing teachers to catch the attention of their students, a gigantic organ, and some weird and wacky horn instruments. If I was any good at music I’m sure I could have appreciated it even more.
I wandered through the Kulturforum and had a look at the giant gold building, the Philharmonie, and the various galleries. I stopped at Potsdamer Platz, another of Berlin’s big squares, and one that retains a small section of the wall that once ran through it.
I walked back up once again to the Brandenburger Tor, stopping at the Holocaust Denkmal (memorial), a huge field of concrete blocks symbolising the murdered. I’m not quite sure what the significance was, but there you go. The museum/information centre underneath the ground level was very impressive and very moving, telling the stories of individuals as well as emphasising the size of the destruction.
Near the exit was a computer connected to a database of those killed in the Holocaust. Out of curiosity, I searched ‘Liebhold’, and to my slight surprise found eight or ten Liebholds from Mannheim listed. I’m not sure whether they were relatives, but there’s a reasonable chance. Plus, their names were submitted by sons and daughters from the US, France and Israel, meaning we might have some unknown distant, living, relatives scattered around.
I stopped at the incredible German Parliament building, the Reichstag, for a quick photo, before taking another look at the Brandenburger Tor and taking the S-bahn home.
Tom had prepared a traditional and delicious German dish, a bit like gnocchi, and I got home just in time to have some as we discussed his museum.