Post image for Home Exchange Berlin 2011:  Getting High

Home Exchange Berlin 2011: Getting High

by John Mensinger on August 26, 2011

Now that I have your attention this is not an article about drugs, beer, or other mind altering substances.  Paris has the Eifel Tower, which is a beautiful building that offers great views and intimate contact with thousands of tourists.  Berlin has several options for a view high above the maddening crowd, which is generally only found in and around Brandenburg Gate.  Our home exchange partners introduced us to Lola, who kindly took us on two tours of Berlin.  The highpoints of each excursion are described below.

You can reach new heights via religion.  The Berliner Dom, a lovely cathedral is free for services but charges 7 euros for a secular visit.   After admiring the ground floor you should descend to the crypt where there are hundreds of folks from the ruling Hohenzollern family whose tombs illustrate the decorative arts from the 16th through 20th centuries.

From there everything is up.  You will climb many stairs and go on a long journey.  You can stop along the way to check out the Royal Box, which positioned the rulers above their subjects on the main floor of the cathedral.  There is also a small museum showcasing the building’s architecture.  If you are persistent and climb a few hundred steps you will end up on a viewing platform with the dome at your back and expansive vistas of the heart of the city.

To get higher try the Panoramapunkt at Potsdamer Platz.  For only euros 5.50 the fastest elevator on the continent will whisk you to the 24th and 25th floors.    You can see the legacy of communist rule in the vast apartment blocks of the east versus smaller buildings in the west.  The greenbelt that looks out of place in an urban environment is the former dead zone between the inner and outer wings of the Berlin wall.  There is a worthwhile exhibition of the history of Potsdamer Platz, which was divided by the wall.

The Fernsehturm is the modern East German spire at Alexanderplatz that along with the Brandenburg Gate is one of the famous architectural symbols of Berlin.   They take you 200 meters above the city, which may explain the 11 euro ticket price.    My son was willing to pay but said the line to get in was excessively long.   They have over 1.2 million visitors a year.

If this all seems too tame try Air Service Berlin, which offers viewing by balloon, helicopter, and airplane.

The photo shows the Fernsehturm and the Berliner Dom, on a hazy summer day as viewed from the Panoramapunkt.   We enjoyed getting high during our house swap in Berlin.



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