Grammar's Travel travel blog

Oct 14

Cleverly, I figured out the Berlin transit system so that Ruth and Grammar could buy themselves passes bought for the next two days because the things they wanted to see were quite far apart.

First we went to the East Side Gallery. It is the longest, best preserved section of the former Berlin Wall that stretches for 1.4 km near the Ost Bahnhof. Ruth said she just wanted to see part of it and then proceeded to sprint the length of the section, leaving Grammar, with a sore hip, in the dust. It was fascinating. This open-air gallery was created on the wall by various international artists in 1990. Many of the works have since been freshened up.

Next we tackled the train system (included in the transit pass) and travled a ross the city to the zoo exit, heading for the Kathe Kolwetz museum. We were very hungry by this pint and very glad of the sandwiches we made at our breakfast buffet ans smuggled out of the dining room. Things to do; places to go; no time to stop for lunch!

We got a bit turned around when we got off the train and had an unplanned tour of West Berlin's most prosperous street and the fascinating memorial chapel and protected ruin of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche, a grand church that was built in the late 19th century and destroyed by bombs in 1943.

We finally found the Kathe Kollwitz museum that displays the moving anti-war, anti-oppression work of this artist. Born in 1867, she lived almost all of her life in Berlin and was an powerful figure in the art world. Following the death of her son in the first World War, her wood block prints, lithographs and sculptures became openly pacifist, often showing mother and child. Many time she used herself as the main model for her work. (I wondered how she did that for one drawing of her sleeping!) She was critical of the Nazi regime and a patron whisked her away to a country home during WWII in order to protect her. She died in 1945, just before end of the war. We found her work compelling, but also very depressing.

After a quick supper at our favorite homey restaurant opposite the hotel, we raced off, again by transit, to see an over-the-top variety show at the Friedrichtberg Palast, Europe's show palace. We saw a gigantic chorus line, jugglers, acrobats, singers, magicians, water ballerinas, and raunchy cabaret dancers. The show has over 100 performers in glittery costumes and is said to be larger than Las Vegas performances.

Grammar found the first act, with many Cirque du Soleil-like acts, somewhat ho hum but the second act won her over. There were performers swimming in a giant pool that appeared in what seemed to be a solid stage and there was a huge waterfall flowing into and filling up the pool. People entered and exited from just about anywhere and it was exhilarating and exhausting to watch. It was really fun.

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