We got up at about 8, and went to the Reichstag (Parliament building). It is open to public from 9, but you need to queue. As we were quite early, the queue was not too long. People were all there to visit the glass vault on top of the building. Many agree it is an architectural masterpiece while I think differently. To me it is just weird for such a modern structure to sit on top of a palace-like building. Anyway, a great view of Berlin is available up there.
At 11 o’clock sharp, we gathered outside the Starbucks near the Brandenburg Gate, from where the free walk tour started. Our guide was a Scottish girl studying history. Flecks still could be seen on her cheeks. She encouraged us to ask questions and said, “if you guys ask a question and I know the answer, it makes me look smart; but if I don’t know the answer, it makes you look smart”. The same joke was told by the guide who led the free walk tour in Munich. Any way, I learned much through the tour.
We left the group at Checkpoint Charlie, and went to the East Gallery. It rained for a while and then stopped. The weather was not so good during our stay in Berlin. We were so delighted the moment we saw artistic doodles on a wall, and believed that one end of the Berlin Wall. “Finally, we are here”. Yet one of us noticed a line on it, which read, this is not the Berlin Wall. What? That sounds funny. However, after checking with a passer-by, we realized this 8m2 or so large wall is different from those to its left, and is really not the Berlin Wall, despite the doodles on it. This section of the wall is quite long. We walked along it and enjoy the doodles, and reading the words left by tourists as well.
It was around 5 when we finished off, and according to my plan, we would go to the museum island to visit some of the world’s best museums. It was a Thursday, and they are free after 6. But the two guys from NTU insisted visiting the Jewish museum. The rest gave in in the end, which I found was a huge mistake afterwards. That’s why travelling with too many people could sometimes be problematic. Well, the Jewish museum was not bad, but we missed Pergamonmuseum and Alte Nationalgalerie as a result. The time we reached the museum island, only the Neues Museum was open. What a pity.
The last thing we did that day is go to Oranienburger Street, along which where are numerous bars, pubs and restaurants. I’d say that Berlin is more dynamic when it is dark. Choice for nightlife is abundant. It seemed everyone was drinking and having fun; even in the U-Bahns (underground trains) people were holding a bottle of beer. We ended up in a restaurant named Singapore Bar, and it was past 1pm when we got back to the hostel.