This could be heresy, speaking as a former project manager, but perhaps you don’t have to plan everything. (Shocking, right?) I’m finding out, sometimes the serendipitous approach works well too. I’ll explain later in my update how this fits in.
I knew that I wanted to see the Victory Column near Tiergarten Park. Then head down to Museum Island to visit the Pergamon Museum and also re-visit the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate again. All very do-able, I thought, in the time available.
It was a 40 minute walk to the Victory Column. Fortunate to walk through part of Tiergarten Park (major park in Berlin) down this long pathway. In the picture below, you can’t see the end – it just goes, and goes…
Path in Tiergarten Park
Finally, at the end, you get a view of the Victory Column.
And I captured a picture when I was closer.
Victory Column (Side View)
It used to be over by the Reichstag, but was moved after 1900. Was going to add some more historical facts, but edited myself this time.
This is where serendipity (defined as fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise”) comes in. I noticed that my ticket for the Pargamon Museum vist was 12:30 and it was now 12:00 – and to walk there would take 45 minutes. So that I didn’t cut it too close, I tried to hale a taxi – no luck, but I did see a group of bicycle taxis nearby. My “driver” as it turned out studied engineering in the U.S. and also seemed to know what trivia that I’d be interested in as he guided us to Museum Island. He talked about Tiergarten Park (trees cut down after the war for fuel and the open fields used to grow food for the starving Berlin citizens and the restoration), to the outline of the Berlin Wall (see below).
Bricks outlining the former Berlin Wall
And just as we passed under the Brandenburg Gate he pointed out Hotel Aldon – you know, the hotel where Michael Jackson held one of his children over the balcony? (Later on when I came back to the area, I looked up a picture of Michael Jackson from that day and the railing in the picture matched the railing of the hotel.)
The taxi driver kept up the trivia and seemed to know a little bit of everything. (You know that I was eating this up.) Never asked why he gave up a career in engineering, but I could see how he enjoyed talking about his city. It turned out to be the best 30 minute tour I could have expected.
Remember the Pergamon Museum from yesterday? I got to visit it today. And it was a treat. This museum houses original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings from the middle east. Following the picture of the building, are a few pictures I was able to take within the building. Amazing!
Later I went back to the Brandenburg Gate and took some pictures of the Quadriga (statue of Nike, in a chariot, pulled by four horses) that sits on top of the gate. Unfortunately, the original Quadriga didn’t survive the war. My taxi driver said that West Germany provided the replacement, and because the gate was in East Berlin, it was lowered by crane from West Berlin (gate is almost right on the Berlin Wall) onto the gate.
Really enjoyed my time in Berlin. Met some really nice people and the weather was just about perfect. I’ll be sure to come back again!