We left Frankfurt early in the morning to take the ICE train to Berlin. Weather had cleared up and the day promised to be sunny and warm.
The train station was a little confusing but we finally managed to find the correct platform and determine what train car we would board. I had been led to expect there to be porters to take care of the luggage, but such was not the case. We had to struggle onto the train unaided and place them high up in overhead holders. The first class train cars were basically empty and we could sit where we wanted and chose two seats with a table between them. This set up offered a plug-in for the computer which saves battery power!
ICE trains leave on time and arrive on time! Riding a train is quite different than a plane. When you walk down the aisle in a train you must make sure you hang onto something as it is easy to fall with the slight swaying of the train. There is a eating car where you can be served a meal or purchase various sodas, wine and beer. An attendant comes around the first class cars offering chocolates and nuts. I must say, after several train trips, I really like this mode of transportation.
We arrived in a 5-6 level new train station in Berlin that was quite amazing. This structure is built on several levels with trains coming and going with measured frequency. I must say I admire the Europeans for the various, efficient types of transportation used in order to cut down on the use of automobiles thus cutting the pollution factor. Good bus and tram systems, punctual trains, people riding bikes in every town, along with motor bikes(cycles) all contribute to a cleaner environment. The cities are filled with greenery and flowers and dotted with parks which allow the populous to enjoy a lovely picnic weekend within their shady lawns.
We were met with a strange sight. Water pipes painted blue, pink, yellow, etc. which are all above ground. The guide explained that because of the water table's location in this particular area, piping had to be above ground. So the Berliners decided to make it into a piece of art by painting them bright colors!
Berlin is full of things to see and do; museum row with 5-6 museums all grouped together, monuments, old churches, the Wall, Brandenburg Gate, sculptures, fountains, beautiful tree-lined avenues, restaurants, sidewalk cafes, sport stadiums, the Opera, theatre, and fine shopping within a giant mall housed in a beautiful older building called Ka De We.
There is a T.V. tower which I found rather out of place in a city of relics. The interesting thing about this tower, beside the fact that there is a restaurant at the top, is that the owners decided to post various love letters up and down the main supporting post for this year. You have to look closely to see the love letters. They are not permanent and are in several languages. Actually I forget why this was done....it had been to explained to me but with all the information I was gleening, I could not remember.
We saw breweries, "The Wall" and an unusual restaurant in the form of what appeared to be two railway cars surrounded by an unusual sculpture! It is a shame that we only have 2 days in this great city as we only get a cursory visit to a few places. They claim you could visit 3 castles a day for a week here!
We enjoyed a fine dinner at Aigner’s restaurant that evening and on the walk to and from the restaurant we viewed show rooms with Bentley’s, Mercedes Benz and BMW's and other “top of the line” cars. Musicians were playing at various places on the street (these people appear with regularity on the streets playing for money) and double-decker buses and horse-drawn carriages taking people around the area to view the sites.
It is a city bustling with activity and much to offer. I would love to return to take in more and bring my husband, as this is a city not to be missed.