During our vacation, I was happy to be able to walk around the city of Berlin a couple of times. I’d arrived on a Saturday night and had most of Sunday to myself to chill before the meeting that I was attending started early in the evening.
That Sunday morning I took the opportunity to walk around the area of West Berlin that my hotel was in, mostly walking through the Tiergarten, which is more-or-less “Central Park” to Berlin. There’s broad trails that you can stroll, jog, or walk your dog (I did see a lot of German shepherds and dachshunds, it was funny…). There’s little ponds and brooks to sit beside as well – its very nice, and on a brisk Sunday, it was packed with strolling Berliners.
The Tiergarten is book-ended by two notable monuments. My hotel was near one – the Siegesaule – erected to commemorate Prussian military victory – that’s where I started. The other is the famous Brandenburg Gate – erected for, well, more Prussian military victories – its sort of a theme this town had for a while.
I walked along trying to remember my German vocabulary from when I’d taken the language back in high school and for a semester in college. I could point at things and remember a lot of words, could navigate most menus and public transportation schedules, but couldn’t form a coherent sentence to save my life. As such, I think I came across as a mildly retarded toddler.
My walk also took me towards the government district, including the Reichstag and the Chancellery. The Reichstag has been renovated since the Berlin became the capital (again) of the reunified Germany in the 1990s. As the home to the German Parliament, its façade has the words “Dem Deutschen Volke” (The German People), and I found it oddly touching.