Berlin Bundestag and the Brandenburg Gate

When I was researching things to see in Berlin, I read about the dome at the top of the Reichstag building. I’m such a sucker for rooftops and views of the city from above, not to mention things you can do later at night after the museums and other attractions have closed, that visiting the dome went near the top of the list of things to do in Berlin. Luckily, I read about it a few weeks before our trip because you have to request permission in advance. You give your name, date of birth, and a few options for when you’d like to visit. Then, a week or so later, I got an email giving us a time slot and an attached PDF to bring with us.

Our visit to Berlin landed about 10 days into our trip, just when we were pretty desperate to do some laundry. We used airBnB to rent an apartment (one with a washer and dryer), so after arriving at the (huge!) train station, we took two buses to our apartment that we discovered was on the 3rd floor (4th floor if you use the American way) and thus, up 63 steps! That’s a lot! (But it still wasn’t as bad the 6th floor walk-up I rented in New York once, so I guess it’s all about perspective.) Once we were up in the apartment, we sorted out our laundry and found we had four loads. AND it turns out that the “dryer” listed on the apartment was actually just a drying rack so doing laundry pretty much took up our afternoon. We finally finished all our loads in time for dinner.

The great thing about renting an apartment is that our host left a list of recommended restaurants. We decided on a vegetarian one not far away. It was such a charming little cafe. I wish I could pinpoint what it was, but sitting there, reading the menu, looking out the window, people-watching the other diners, I just had one of those little thrills that you get while traveling and you realize that you’re somewhere completely new and different. I love that feeling. I really wanted to take a picture of it, but it’s not the type of thing you can really capture on film (err, digital), so I just got Cristen’s delight in her German beer.

Dinner took a little longer than expected (they always did), so we had to rush to make our time slot at the Reichstag. Sadly, I also realized that I had forgotten my printed permission for our visit, but we did not want to climb back up those 63 steps to get it. I had an electronic version on my phone, though, so we hoped it would be alright. We made it there just in time, and the electronic version worked just fine. They gave us some visitors badges, so we felt official.

We took the elevator to the top, picked up our audio guide (yes, I actually got one!) and stepped out onto the roof to take some photos. It was a little darker than I hoped when I selected the time, but that only made the lights brighter.

The dome has a ramp that spirals all the way to the top and the audio guide points out different buildings and tells you about the history. I also really enjoyed hearing about the German government. It was actually pretty interesting, but mostly it was space age awesomeness.

Probably the only really interesting thing that I remember is that the dome is open at the top. It was raining while we were there, but the rain is collected and then reused.

We didn’t have time to get any photos of the Reichstag before going up to the dome, so we attempted to take some pictures afterward. It was a little dark.

Just down the road is the Brandenburg Gate.

It was super crowded with lots of tour groups of teenagers. I have no idea what all of these tour groups were doing there because it seems like school should have been in session by then, but the biggest problem was that when we tried to get a donut at the Dunkin Donuts nearby, the students had picked the place dry of all the good options. We hated them so much!

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2 comments

  1. goldenfever · November 19, 2012

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Your blog looks great. I love the new look.

  2. janeisawake · November 20, 2012

    ahh can’t wait to go there!! Night photos are spectacular, even if you can’t see every little detail – that’s what makes them awesome!!

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