We have had two clear and wonderful shirtsleeve days for walking around and exploring the town. The change in temperature since we first arrived in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago has been pretty dramatic.Our decision for planning our activities is to focus on outdoor exploration when the weather was great, saving the museum visits for cloudy or rainy days.
Our first day of exploring the town was a Sunday, so we decided to do a circle tour using the city buses and walking. We used the buses because even though they are slower than the U-bahn and S-bahn, there is a better chance to view the areas you are traveling through. It is nice on the first day to get a broad brush look at a town and the start spending more time in the individual areas. As it was Sunday it was not too crowded on the buses, particularly in the morning.
We traveled through the different neighborhoods some that had survived the war, others built by the East and West Germans, and others that are in the process of being rebuilt today. It is fascinating to see the different layers of old and new, historical and modern blended together. There is an incredible amount of building and reinvestment in the infrastructure going on here. It is no wonder that their unemployment level is so low, and that the place looks a little different with each visit.
|Kurfürstendamm (Ku'damm street)|
|Palace grounds - Charlottenburg|
|Palace at Charlottenburg|
We finished our first day's tour walking through Alexanderplatz, where there was some sort of festival going on. It looked a lot like Oktoberfest, but it must be a similar springtime festival. We stooped for a German beer at a restaurant in the Hackescher Markt, and then headed home. We have seen evening fireworks two of the nights that we have been here, adding to the mood of a celebration.
On our second day we walked to the Brandenburg gate, down Unter Den Linden, and to the Berliner Dom. We then revisited Alexanderplatz and then took a train to the East Side Gallery, one of the few remaining sections of the Berlin wall standing. It is covered in modern murals, which have been sadly defaced with graffiti by visitors. After supper at the apartment we walked over to the Sony Center to see it under the multi colored lights. We were treated to another fireworks display just before we headed off to bed.
|Unter Den Linden|
|East Side Gallery|
|Sony Center at Night|
We hope you are all doing well.
Stephen and Linda