It was nearly 4 pm at the Jewish Museum, and we still hadn’t had lunch. So we left and went looking for food. Wandered around abit. Many of the shops around the Jewish Museum were shut, it being Saturday. Finally we wandered back close to Checkpoint Charlie and found a great little Pizzeria. The 3 of us shared a huge pizza for 8 Euros, which I thought was very excellent. Our food hit the spot and we had energy to continue.
Our next stop was the Reichstag. We took the U-Banh to Freidrich Strafze, and walked down Unter den Linten. This is big avenue, which in days gone past, you may have seen images of parades marching down the road. The lime trees were only recently re-planted, and gives this road a very luscious and leafy feel. There are many fancy looking restaurants and cafes, and clothes shop. I even saw a huge Nivea shop, and usually they occupy a couple of shelves at the supermarket.
This extremely wide boulevard takes you directly to the Brandenburg Gate. The whole area around the Gate has been restored and rebuilt, including Hotel Adlon. Hotel Adlon is where Barack Obama stayed when he gave a speech in Berlin in July last year. It is also the hotel where Michael Jackson infamously held his infant son over the balcony.
The Reichstag is an impressive building. For one, it is quite huge. The Reichstag was always a parliamentary building, not a converted palace. It was built in the late 19th century (around 1890) but was gutted in a fire in 1933. It is uncertain how the fire started, but it became a catalyst for events that led to the election of the Nazi Party, and Adolf Hitler as Chancellor. The Reichstag was also the battleground in WWII in the Berlin Blitz between the Soviet and the Nazis.
Restoration for the Reichstag was only completed in 1999, and it is an amazing building. Old on the outside, completely modern on the inside. The dome is a work of art, and definitely worth the 2 hour long queue to get into the building. Security is very tight. Only groups of around 30 people are let in at a time. The glassdoors act as a “lock”. The door closes behind you, before it opens in front of you. You are then screened, x-rayed, and cordoned off before boarding the elevator to the top. The same thing happens on the way out. Every one in the group crowds into the exit area. Glassdoor shuts behind you, before the exit door opens. No such thing as running straight out the door.
Since 1999, the German parliament has sat in the Reichstag. The Nazi party never sat in the Reichstag. The Reichstag was a symbol of democracy and the Nazi party was not interested in that.