Day 11: From Bergen to Berlin
The sun was shining brightly early this morning and by 9:00am tour groups were already out and about following their tour guides. I am always amused to see what the guides are holding. Sometimes they hold an umbrella and other times they hold a flag while behind them the groups follow like ducklings. Usually there's a straggler taking pictures who ends up running after the group. Our hotel, Thon Bryggen, bills itself as a budget hotel, but by budget, they mean $240 per night which is way more than we ever spend. Fortunately they had a nice breakfast buffet with eggs, cereals, yogurt, and breads.
The Bergen Airport is very user friendly. You get your own boarding pass at check-in kiosks, and scan and place your own baggage on the conveyer belt. We have taken Norwegian Air before and to fly to Berlin was only $150 for the two of us.
Our hotel, The Circus Hotel was rated #1 on Trip Advisor and is only $125 per night and is situated in a busy, colorful part of Berlin, a short and easy subway ride to Brandenburg Gate. Our room has a bird theme and little wooden birds are tastefully placed throughout the room.
This evening we took a quick tour of some of the sights. The Brandenburg Gate (1791) is topped with four horse drawn chariots driven by the Goddess of Peace. Napoleon took the statue to the Louvre in 1806 . It was returned in 1813 and the goddess was renamed the Goddess of Victory.
Continuing on we came to the Memorial to the Murdered Jew of Europe. It consists of 2,711 hollow concrete pillars of varying heights. Designed by the Jewish American architect Peter Eisenman, it is left to the visitor to interpret in their mind. To me it looked like faceless stones in a labyrinth in which there is no way out. Under the memorial below street level is a somber museum. Through photographs and journal entries, it tells the stories of the horrors of the Holocaust. In one room, portraits of entire families are shown with information about the fate of each family member.
We hoped to visit the German Parliament, the Reichstag. You can visit the glass cupola and walk the spiral walkway to the top but all of the tickets were sold out for the day.
We ended the evening back at the hotel for a delicious late night meal at the hotel restaurant, Fabische. It's nice to finally be able to eat a meal at a restaurant where they don't charge a fortune like they do in Scandinavia (we had picnics there!) Berlin looks like an exciting, vibrant city and I can't wait to explore it.