Berlin – 5. Zoo

On our last day in Berlin we spent most of the day at the Zoo to do something mainly for OMB. Of course, being Berlin, even something as universal as a zoo has significance. Due to the partition of the city the station became the de facto central station for West Berlin and the inspiration for U2’s song “Zoo Station”. Coincidentally, Berlin was plastered with posters advertising the 20th anniversary re-release of Achtung Baby. I’d rather there had been more about David Bowie’s trilogy of Berlin-recorded albums, Low, Heroes and Lodger, but you can’t have everything. At least it wasn’t all about David Hasselhoff!

As with all city centre zoos, there was a feeling that it was somehow not right to have large animals which were used to roaming wide areas confined in a relatively small space. Fortunately the elephants didn’t look too bored. The aquarium and crocodile house were the highlights.

bonobos!

Berlin – 3. Brandenburg Gate & Reichstag

On our second day in Berlin we returned to the Jewish Memorial. Unfortunately, we were politely told by the staff that they did not think there was anything in it that was suitable for children under 14 so OMB and I went to the Reichstag in the hope of climbing up to the top of the Cupola. As the Reichstag was also debating issues regarding the eurozone bailout proposals it would have been interesting to have been in the building at the time, particularly as the cupola is apparently designed to funnel the sounds of the chamber up so as to be freely heard in public.

Reichstag

Unfortunately, contrary to the indications in our guidbooks, we learned that it took around 3 days to get an entry ticket for the Reichstag and you couldn’t just turn up and go in. As we only had another full day in Berlin, this meant that it would have to wait to a future visit. Luckily it was a fine sunny day and this allowed for a bit of running around and playing in the Tiergarten with OMB, which I don’t think he minded at all. Particularly when he found a man making exciting soap bubbles.

We then met up with Mrs B and carried on our tour of the central part of the city.

Brandenburg Gate

Gendarmenmarkt