Reichstag / Berlin Wall Memorial
So. After the Victory Tower, we were kind of at a loss for what to do. On the one hand, it was starting to rain and we had no forseeable shelter. On the other hand, the Tiergarten stretches into West Berlin and it was one of our plans to 'explore the west.' Exploration is unfortunately better suited to sunny or at least rain-free days, however, as it usually means long expanses of time wandering around via bike through the streets. Neither of us were very prepared for venturing west as we forgot the map marked with cafes and galleries at home.
We deferred a decision and went back into the Tiergarten, when a crack of thunder made us head for a group of pines to hide under. I know, you're not supposed to stand under trees in a thunderstorm but we figured if lightning was going to hit anything, it was going for the giant metal valkerie on top of the Victory Tower. We shared our tree with a group of obnoxiously drunk men and a gay couple. Nearby were used condoms. It was as close as I ever want to get to Berlin's seedy underbelly.
We just about threw in the towel and were maybe going to head home, when the rain seemed slightly less pound-y and we started biking through Alt-Moabit. Not really the nicest part of Berlin, I have to say, but it lead us to Hauptbahnhof (Central Train Station) where we decided to see what the grocery store had on offer and wait for the rain to end. By the time we re-emerged the sun was shining and it felt quite warm so we had lunch in the 'Spreebogen' park next to the river.
I pass by this park / urban river promenade every day on my way to work, but have never stopped to walk around. I also had a hell of a time trying to figured out what it was called and who it was by. Berlin needs a site like cphx in Copenhagen, so you can find out about all the cool architecture and public spaces. So FYI this rather cool river-side-promenade-park thing is by a landscape firm that doesn't exist anymore, Weber & Saurer, was planned for a competition in 1994 ish, and.... it's called the Spreebogen. You're welcome.
Following the river walk, we got into the government quarter of Berlin. The main Reichstag dome was designed by Foster & Partners, and it has a fantastic view (I can attest to this, having stood in line back in 2010 to visit). We didn't go into the dome this time, but walked around the complex which is very... monumental. And surprisingly nice.
It was getting on to evening and as our Friday night plans included 5 EUR tickets to Future Shorts--a series of short films shown at Filter Kaffee in Supermarkt, Wedding--we decided to bike along Invalidenstr. and into the North. Along the way we discovered the really nice part of Mitte along Ackerstr. and where we would definitely deign to live, if someone offered us their apartment.
As we went up Brunnenstr. we came across the Berlin Wall Memorial project at Bernauer Str. This project, made of corten steel bars running in the location of the wall, was the first competition won by my boss and is just completing now. I think it's pretty damn cool. The bars show where the wall was but because they have wide openings you can pass through and... before I start talking like an architect I'm just going to post photos.