date: mon 4 sep 17
tags: berlin

4/9/17 - first morning in berlin - luckily the hotel was quite close to the metro station at anhalter bahnhof with a choice of 3 lines (s1, s2 & s25) - one good thing about berlin is the "short distance" ticket allowing up to 3 stops for eu1.70 and this is handy if you want to go as far as friedrichstrabe or stadtmitte - this white building is called tempodrom

the anhalter bahnhof area is slightly off the beaten track so not that many places to eat but luckily we did find a handy pub-like place called stadtklause which served traditional german food and beer

luckily i read in tripadvisor that they only take cash (no cards) so i managed to track down an atm with the visa app but for some reason it billed me in gbp not eur and was about gpb153 for eu150! i would have preferred the option of being billed in euros although with the euro now so expensive it might not have helped that much - i remember the days of a euro being about 65p.

one of the first tasks of the day was to find somewhere to have breakfast - the hotel said it would be eu15 per head and i have not generally been over impressed with hotel breakfasts so we found a handy breakfast place called coffee & cookies which was only a few minutes walk away - this photo below shows the original facade of anhalter bahnhof which was once one of the main stations in berlin

this was a window display of ducks in the window of a travel agent next to coffee & cookies

just opposite the breakfast place was this interesting "man on a ladder" sculpture by vattenfall

not far beyond the vattenfall man we reached potsdamer platz - a group of mini cars advertising philips bass+ headphones

another photo of potsdamer platz - one oddity we got caught out by here was with the u2 subway line as the subway map did not make it clear that switching between s-bahn and u-bahn lines involves coming up to the surface and going back underground on the other side of the road - i think we assumed there would be a walkway link between the lines (similar to walkway at stadtmitte that links the u2 and u6 lines)

still at potsdamer platz and a very interesting looking bike designed to be ridden by several people at once - this looks like an initiative to get people cycling

this is the sony centre next to potsdamer platz

some buildings next to the sony centre at am park

there seem to be a large number of bears in berlin - i remember this one from my previous visit in 2008 - it is just outside the back of the sony centre facing the tiergarten

the tiergarten global stone project

next to the tiergarten is brandenburg gate - a real tourist honeypot! it was just packed with people using selfie sticks and doing those photos where it looks like they are trying to hold up the chariot and horses on top of the gate - this photo show some tourists trying to work out where they are using an analog map - remember those days?

this is just too touristy for words!

just a few yards to the north of the brandenburg gate is the bundestag / reichstag building - you could tell it was election time as there were loads of political posters everywhere with elections on 24/9/17 - we asked about entry to the building but it was only allowed if you had pre booked and people seemed to be having to show passports - there is so much to see in berlin and with only 2 full (non travelling) days no great loss

next to the reichstag was a demo by the aerotoxic association which is to do with the poor air quality on flights - i have been ill on a couple of occasions after flights so i can quite believe the air quality is bad

this was quite an unexpected sight - a beekeeper and hive outside paul lobe haus (the modern government offices) - there is an article about it here

7 white crosses being a memorial to people killed crossing the berlin wall - there are also 7 white crosses facing the river

staircase at paul lobe haus with green man on ladder sculpture by artist neo rauch called mann auf der leiter

more artwork this time at jakob kaiser haus called "grundgesetz 49" by dani karavan

not sure what this sign means - google translates wie funktioniert die einschaltquote wir erklären to "how does the rating rate -we explain" - the picture of the animal next to it was quite good

blue pipes next to friedrichstrabe bahnhof - these pipes must have been recently installed as the streetview photos done in 2008 show no pipes here

a close up shot of the pipes and valves next to the river spree rail bridge

underneath the rail bridge was a handy pedestrian crossing - there was a nice place serving beer just across the river called standige vertretung

this is the bode museum on museum island - there is a nice selection of blue pipes along this road - the pipes are managed by a company called brechtel spezialtiefbau and deal with groundwater level management

just outside the bodemuseum is a sculpture

some stencilled artwork in a pedestrian underpass next to the river spree near hackescher markt

a tavola at the domaquaree development opposite the berliner dom

a colourful bear sculpture

another bear sculpture this time in horizontal red stripes

karl liebknecht strabe - one of the main streets leading to alexanderplatz - this part of berlin has trams - the part of berlin that used to be west berlin had trams removed as they were considered to get in the way of motor cars which were considered more important

the berlin tv tower is known as the fernsehturm and is very tall - is is so tall that everything else appears very flat - the visibility was very good and there was no queue at all - it was 14 euros per head to go up - this was looking in the direction of kreuzberg

this was a good view of the towers shadow over alexanderplatz - there are lots of tiny people and trams

looking north east towards park inn - there seem to be quite a few groups of very tall buildings a long way out from the centre - the tall buildings top right must be neu hohenschonhausen

view towards the mitte area of berlin - you can just see the 3 tall chimneys of the lichterfeld power plant on the left horizon which is about 11km away

some trams at alexanderplatz

world time clock at alexanderplatz know as weltzeituhr

haus de lehrers or teachers home with a frieze by walter womacka

the house of statistics at alexanerplatz also known as haus der statistik - it has been empty for a number of years

this building was right opposite the park inn hotel in alexanderplatz - it had quite an interesting staircase at the side

there seemed to be a lot of construction work going on related to projekt u5 which is bridging the gap in the metro system between alexanderplatz and brandenburger tor

more works related to projekt u5 - a nice selection of blue pipes

a glass u-bahn lift at mohrenstrabe

these pink pipes at checkpoint charlie were very colourful

checkpoint charlie - a tourist handed me his mobile phone and wanted me to take a photo of him with the "you are leaving the american sector..." sign in the background - reminded me how fiddly it is trying to take photos using a phone!