June 1, 2020

Berlin Day 2 – Ray Day!

Skibosh here!

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So my second day in Berlin is so creatively named “Ray Day” because Ray showed me around Berlin and we had a blast! Yeah, I know we make a cute couple 😉

The day began with a trip to the Bundestag. That is the German Pariliment/Senate building. Ray’s friend Marko works for a congresswoman in Germany and he was able to get us a private tour.

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We started the tour in the main meeting area of all the politians. They were busy clearing out all of the chairs because something very unusual was happening and it was kinda cool to be there while it was happening.

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You see the German President had resigned a few weeks early. I’m not going to go into the reasons why, but it has never happened before and in the next couple of weeks they will be electing the new president.

It was in the main room that our tour guide told us about how the German government works and processes they take to elect new laws and regulations and things. Big decisions all the way down to the correct amount of curvature a cucumber should have…no joke!

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After that we gathered in the elevator with everyone else and headed up to the roof of the Bundestag where you could walk around the glass dome that was constructing on the top the building.

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At the top we met up with Marko and he gave us his own little private tour around the top of the Bundestag pointing out all of the government buildings that surrounded the building.

He also gave me a great little gift bag full of German governmental goodies, like a German law book, in English, so I am now aware of some of the laws I have broken being in Germany. There was also a book on the Bundestag and my favorite, two German pins which will go nicely on my German hat I purchased at Octoberfest two years ago.

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Some of the things you could see from the roof are the Berlin television tower you can see there on the left and then if you squint and look closely on the right, you will see a gold dome of the Jewish temple that was built after the war to show the Jewish community that there is a place for them in Berlin.

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He also shared with us a humorous story about the picture above. If you look close you can see metal letters kinda of hidden in the grass. You see on the front of the Bundestag is the saying etched in stone above the pillars.

You might be able to barely make them out. It reads “For the German People”.

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The story goes that the particular saying could be considered some what offensive to all of the other people of different nationalities that are living in Berlin. So there was a big movement to try and get the saying changed to “For the People”.

Well, the government agreed that it should be done, but unfortunately they could not change the front of the building because it is a historical monument. So instead they put it inside where all the politians could bring dirt from their home villages and add it to the area where that saying was put.

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Now completely hidden from the public by growing shrubbery. Pretty typical of any government I would have to say.

After some great stories and information about the German government Marko had to get back to work, so Ray and I decided to take the audio tour of the glass dome on top of the Bundestag.

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The main idea behind the glass dome is transparency. Anyone during business hours, can go up to the dome and look down into the the main area of parliament and watch as their government works. It’s the idea that their government is completely open and transparent to the public.

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The mirrors inside the dome help bring in natural light to the parliament room, so they can save money on electricity. Overall, it is a pretty amazing structure.

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After our tour, we enjoyed a lunch at the top of the Bundestag and then headed off to see more of Berlin.

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We walked through the Berlin Dome, which is a huge church in Berlin (obviously)

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It never ceases to amaze me how incredible small old churches can make you feel. Coincident? I think not. At the top of the Dome we had a great 360 degree view of Berlin.

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Towards the end of the day we headed towards Alexander Platz to get a up close and personal view of the Berlin television tower. One of the main tourist attractions in Berlin.

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Which after only three tries, I finally got this shot of Ray and I in front of the tower. Pretty damn impressive if you ask me. As the sun went down we had dinner at a nice outdoor cafe and we watched a World Cup match and enjoyed some food.

On the way back to the hotel Ray took me to the old town center of West Berlin. There was an old bombed out church that they left standing as a reminder of the destruction that war can bring.

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It was a pretty sobering experience standing there and seeing the destruction that has been there for since the war. It’s incredible moving.

Overall, “Ray Day” in Berlin was spectacular. We saw a lot of the city and were still able to get together with Becca and Oli at the end of the night for a drink and some talk about Noble Peace Prize winning scientists.

That’s all I got for now. Tomorrow I head off Mannheim with Becca and Oli to enjoy the US Soccer Match in the World Cup, followed by the German match.

I can’t wait!

Skibosh Out!

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