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This morning we ventured out to Zoo Berlin on the U-Bahn. Unlike yesterday, our somewhat drab neighborhood seemed more alive with the hustle and bustle of a weekday morning. Likewise, the zoo—with parents and kids, school groups, etc.—was also very vibrant and quite enjoyable. Although rain was expected later in the day, the morning was perfect: sunny and mild.

While I’ve only been to maybe a dozen zoos, Zoo Berlin has to be up near the top. I say this for two reasons. First, it’s aesthetically appealing, as it’s both park-like and cohesive in design. Second, there’s an intimacy with the animals that doesn’t seem to exist elsewhere. While neither the animals nor the people are in any danger from each other (save for humans acting really stupid), there seemed to be few unnecessary barriers and the animals were generally quite close to the onlookers. Highlights included the panda and polar bears, as well as the kid’s petting zoo (especially the seemingly old and blind white goat) and playground (which included this awesome, mechanized toddler-sized excavating equipment).

A distinguished gentleman of a goat...

A distinguished gentleman of a goat...

After the zoo, we grabbed lunch and returned to the hotel. Libby and Emerson took a nap. Mom went out exploring more of the city. And, I thought about a nap but opted to go out as well. I headed up to Unter der Linden and then cut across to Alexenderplatz. In the process, I passed by the Berlin Cathedral, famous TV tower, the ‘red’ town hall (named for the color of the brick’s not as a sort of Communist nod), as well as a few other statues, museums, and churches. Along the way, there were frequent construction projects, which seem to typify this still developing/evolving city.

Berlin in a nutshell: distinguished and old; Soviet-era remnants, funky new buildings, and ongoing (re-)construction...

Berlin in a nutshell: distinguished and old; Soviet-era remnants, funky new buildings, and ongoing (re-)construction...

I left Alexanderplatz via Karl-Marx-Allee, which was originally named “Stalinallee” and contained a series of mostly updated Soviet-style apartments that were originally built as a showpiece of the glories of Socialism. Following my trip down Communist Lane, I meandered my way back to the hotel. All in all, I like the city more… it’s growing on me.

We reconvened for dinner a little after 5:00pm. Before eating, we headed over to see the site of the famous “Checkpoint Charlie” that served as a crossing point between the American sector of West Berlin and the Soviet sector of East Berlin. Ironically, a McDonald’s (amongst other Capitalist symbols) now overlooks the location as if to say “take that, you Commie pinkos!”

For dinner, we went to a Bavarian restaurant (carpe wurstum!) for dinner on the Gendarmenmarkt called “Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt.” It was more upscale than a traditional beer hall with good quality food and reasonable prices. I wouldn’t hesitate to eat there again and would recommend it to anyone looking for Germanic (Bavarian) fare.

Tomorrow is out last (half) day in Berlin.

Then we’re off to London for our homeward flight on Wednesday morning.

2 Responses to “Day #17: Berlin, Germany – Lions and Marxists, Oh My!”

  1. Feik says:

    Carpe wurstum. Now that is a Paulism if ever I’ve heard one :)

  2. Nicole says:

    I completely agree with your assessment of the Berlin Zoo — and we have been to plenty of zoos traveling with the kids! As I predict more zoo visits in your future :), the Melbourne Zoo in Australia was one of our favorites as well!

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