27 March 2010

The Reichstag Dome - Berlin [Day Three]

Having covered most of what I wanted to see in the first couple of days, I decided to check out the Reichstag dome.

The Reichstag Building was very important in the Nazi's taking complete control of the country - it was suspiciously burnt down in 1933, which gave Hitler 'emergency powers'. Many believe that Hitler organised to have the fire started to gain control of these emergency powers, which he then used to suspended most civil liberties.

The building itself was mostly destroyed in WWII, but rebuilt in the early 60's. It was not until 1990 that the German Parliament re-took its place in Germany's capital at the Reichstag building.

Anyway, back on track... The building has a massive glass dome on top, which gives amazing views over the city. Unfortunately the line is usually at least two hours long... When I arrived, I thought I was in luck; the line was relatively small. It turned out that there was ice on the roof and the dome was closed (gives you a feel for just how cold it was). Not my lucky day I guess.

With no plan in particular I headed back down Unter Den Linden (the main street), and for a while, the sun actually came out! Even though it didn't bring the tempreture up, it was still nice. I picked up some Pommes Frites from a street vendor - I dont know what it is about potatoe chips in Europe, but they just seem to be so much better than anywhere else!

There is art and sculpture everywhere in this city. While wandering along the riverbank I found this cool piece.

There was one wierd thing about the city I couldn't figure out - there are these massive pipes raised up in the air. I have no idea what they are for. Maybe someone out can fill me in?

After a couple of hours I made my way back to the Reichstag dome in hope that it was open - and I was in luck! But it seemed that half the tourists in Berlin had discovered it was open before I did. Having nowhere much better to be, I joined the queue. Problem was; as soon as I stopped moving the cold really started to set in. It was freezing! And the line was moving at a snails pace. I saw why once I got to the front. The security made the airport look like a joke. It was nuts!

I finally made it through security and up to the dome. It was still freezing cold, and the dome was open to the wind as well. Awesome. The Reichstag Dome was built in 1990 to signify the reunification of Germany. From the dome you can see directly down into the debating chamber of the German Parliament. A huge mirrored cone in the centre of the dome directs sunlight into the building, which is very cool. I think the most impressive thing would have been the view, but as the weather had again turned bad, there wasn't much to be seen.

By the time I left the Reichstag building it was early evening. I called into a local burger place for some dinner - again, really good food and so cheap! By the time I ate and had a bit of a rest, it was time to make my way to the airport. While at the train station an old guy came and sat next to me and started speaking in German. I smiled and just said English, not expecting him to be able to reply... But he starts having a conversation about the weather. I was blown away, both by how friendly he was, and how good his English was. I have found that generally in Europe the older generation struggle with English. This guy was fluent, and he even offered me half his chocolate bar. How cool is that?

I think Germany wanted me to stay, as return journey was a nightmare. To start with, my flight was delayed by 30 minutes. No big deal. When I board the plane I like to get as close to the door as possible, so I can get out quick and be in the front of the border control line - as it always takes so long. I was lucky and got a spot right by the rear door. Problem - when we landed they only opened the front door, DOH! So it took forever to get off the plane, and then forever to get through customs. So of corse I missed the bus I had booked. I tried to catch the next one, but it was full. I finally got on the following one. By the time I got into bed it was 2.30am Tuesday morning, and I had work that day.

Even with a complete lack of sleep, I still had an amazing time, and definitely recommend you visit. It is one place you have got to check out for yourself, so make sure you add it to the Bucket List.

Check out all my Berlin photos here


  1. The Reichstag building is so full of history. I remember it pretty well how it's used to be twenty years ago -- so many things have changed since then.


  2. Great report, great post!!! I have never been there, but by reading this post, I could have a big picture on how beautiful the Reichstag Dome is. Thanks for sharing ...


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