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Random Berlin

Our flight route from Amsterdam to Berlin passed over these rich patchworked fields.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
The restaurant on the top floor of the department store, Peek and Cloppenburg, not only serves a selection of entreés prepared on the spot, it also has one of the best views of what remains of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church after World War II and the modern steeple beside it. Peek and Cloppenburg is on KÜrfurstendamm. The Memorial Church is under renovation hence the white structure surrounding it.

Berlin Wall
This fragment of the Berlin Wall says it all. The dates 61 refers to the year the wall went up and 89 when the wall started to crumble. At the bottom of this fragment are two hearts representing East and West and the words "l'amour tousjours" or love always. 

"All free men, wherever they may live are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'." -- John F. Kennedy


Sony Center
The amazi…

The Market Gate of Miletus

The Market Gate of Miletus at the PergamonMuseum was rebuilt around 1925-1929 from hundreds of tons of fragments excavated in the ancient city of Miletus and shipped to Berlin by German archaeologists. The original gate dates back to the 2nd century AD and was at the northern entrance to the southern agora or market. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the 10th or 11th centuries and suffered damages during World War II.
On each side of the center door are statues, one of which is believed to be that of Hadrian (with a vanquished slave). The columns supporting the gate are Corinthian in style and the gate itself was originally constructed from marble. However, this reconstructed gate now consists of brick, cement, steel and the fragments from the excavation.

On the floor in front of the gate is a mosaic taken from a private home in Miletus. It depicts Orpheus with his lyre. According to classical Greek mythology, Orpheus could charm all living things with his music including wild anima…

The Pergamon Museum - Vorderasiatisches

Ishtar Gate
It was a 2 hour wait just to get inside the PergamonMuseum. Luckily, the sun was shining and it was comfortable standing outside with just a light jacket and medium heel espadrilles. The Pergamon is undergoing renovations and a section of it will be closed after September 2014. The main entrance is now closed and visitors must enter from a side entrance in the courtyard bounded by the NeuesMuseum, the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Pergamon on MuseumIsland. I bought the area ticket worth €18 which may be used to enter a number of other museums within the same day of purchase.  What I should have done though was buy the €25 annual basic membership Staatliche Museen zu Berlin ticket so I could have skipped the line. Well next time I know better.
This was my second visit to the Pergamon. I was quite impressed with the Gate of Ishtar the first time around which is why it was on my bucket list on this trip and the reason why I endured the long wait. I wavered a couple of times and …

Berlin Dining with a View

On Mother's Day we celebrated by the Wannsea Lake, just a short metro ride from central Berlin. The weather cooperated so we could eat outdoors. I never imagined that potato pancakes could taste so good with chicken kebab.
It was several visits ago that my friends Sonia and Klara introduced me to two restaurants on or near the shopping street, Kurfürstendamm. I ate recently at Le Buffet Berlin inside Wertheim department store. The restaurant offers a choice of hot and cold meals, salads, and desserts. The view from its glass windows of what's left of the bell tower of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is priceless.
Down the street at Wittenbergplatz is Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), the grand dame of Berlin's department stores. Their Wintergarden restaurant has a curved glass roof which is a destination by itself. I took longer to finish my strawberry tart because I was mesmerized by the view of sunny skies. It had been raining for days.
I've always had nothing but good foo…

Berlin - A Tale of Two Sisters

by Rosario Charie Albar

Barely two hours after landing at Tegel airport, I’m whisked by friends to a private club on the Wannsee Lake. I call it “Sonia’s Villa”. My friend, Sonia who recently turned 80 years of age, had worked 33 years at a government bank. As a former employee, she has access to the well-manicured grounds of this beautiful resort.

Under the shade of a large plane tree, we lie on beach chairs overlooking the calm, cerulean waters of the Wannsee. Sailboats flutter in the slight breeze and the soft rustle of leaves is balm to my jarred senses. But I can’t seem to unwind. My travel weary body is as stiff as a camel buried under Sahara sands. I’m on vacation but my subconscious is still at work.

The next few days include visits to the villa in late afternoon. I’m feeling more relaxed and enjoying the routine of drinking tea and eating sweets while watching the sun slide down the horizon, transforming the lake from shades of blue to shimmering grey. It is an idyllic time.