I made a reservation at Reichstag Building Kafer Dachgarten restaurant and was looking forward to the lunch. It’s mentioned that Reichstag in Berlin is the world’s only parliament building to house a public restaurant. The lunch reservation is another way to enter the Reichstag Building if you are unable to secure a visiting time slot via the German parliament official website like myself. Hence, the unearthly departure time and the 3.5 hours flight between Reykjavik and Berlin did nothing to damper my mood. I quickly made my way from Berlin Schoenefeld to the hotel for bag drop off and headed out for my lunch.
The Glass Dome of Reichstag Building
It’s possible to try my luck on the spot for a visiting slot but I think it’s worthwhile when I saw the contrasting queue lines. I made it through the two strict checkpoints quicker amid the security and passport checks (don’t bring large bags though). It’s after all where the Federal Assembly of the German government aka Bundestag is housed. I went straight to the glass dome which is definitely the highlight of Reichstag Building. The impressive dome made up of large glass and steel was designed by the famous Norman Foster. It gives a modern twist to the historic building while symbolizes Germany’s unification.
I particular like the mirrored-cone structure right at the centre which shows reflections from different angles. Look up and be amazed by the crisscrossing of steels or look below to have a nice overview of the debating chambers of Germany’s parliament. The spiral walkway circles round the dome and leads to the top. And because of the glass on all sides, there’s a nice view of Berlin from up here.
Lunch at Kafer Dachgarten restaurant
The lunch at Kaefer Dachgarten (Käfer Dachgarten) was a great experience. The German politicians can debate all they want while I have my meal. The restaurant has a nice atmosphere which is further boosted by the excellent views of Berlin from its rooftop terrace. This would be a great place to chill during sunset too! Overall, the food was not too bad but the portion was rather small, especially for its prices.
The Symbolic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
The famous Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) in Berlin is a monument known to symbolize peace and unity. It was probably inspired by Athens’ Acropolis and the Winged Goddess of Victory sculpture sits right at the top. The triumphant arch suffered serious damage from World War II and was reconstructed. It then became a sad symbol for the divided East and West Berlin together with the Berlin Wall. Brandenburg Gate was the prominent backdrop where former president of USA, Ronald Reagan gave a moving speech back in 1987 during the Cold War. I can only imagine the rousing emotions of East Berliners when I stood in front of this beautiful city gate which witnessed some of Germany’s turbulent past.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is situated not too far away from Brandenburg Gate. It’s also known as the Holocaust Memorial where the Field of Stelae (Slab) is the centrepiece. The 2,711 grey concrete slabs in various heights are arranged in such a way that they reminded me of a graveyard with that sombre atmosphere. There is a small underground information centre with different themed rooms which detailed some belongings of the victims too.
But there’s no mentioning of who were the murderers – do I assume it was during Hitler’s regime?
I went back to Brandenburg Gate to capture some more night shots before heading back to the hotel.
Stay: Meininger Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Meininger Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof is conveniently located beside the train station, which makes travelling around Berlin an easy task. The room is very basic but it’s clean and comfortable enough for me. But of course, being so near to the train station can be a pain due to higher noise level especially when the soundproofing is kind of weak. To make things worse, Meininger Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof also operates as a Hostel where there are many younger occupants. The excessive noise and disturbance from their activities went way beyond into the wee hours. I will opt for another accommodation when visiting Berlin again.