Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 8-Schloss Charlottenburg and other Sites

Day 8 already of my long awaited trip and my vacation is more than half over!

Today dawned cold, rainy and very windy but the weather does not deter Gerhard. Breakfast was at 9 at his apartment and again was the standard breakfast fare though he had also boiled some eggs sitting in egg cups. I know that we have egg cups in the US but I have never had any and I am determined to find some German ones here to take home. Of course, do I have the time to devote to a leisurely breakfast? Breakfast usually goes on for 60-90 minutes and is probably a healthier way to start the day.

Following breakfast we came back to my apartment so that Gerhard could view the photos that I have taken and that I have downloaded on my laptop. I wanted to verify a few photos with him as he tells me “everything must be correct”, and for a compulsive person like myself, that is true as well. Once this was done we headed for the S-Bahn which would take us to the Berlin district of Charlottenburg and the Charlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg). This was one of the sites that I had wanted to see.

A long S-Bahn trip ensued and then a switch to a local bus and we finally reached the Palace. Even though it was gloomy and very windy, this palace is a site to behold. Charlottenburg Palace is the largest and most important remaining Hohenzollern residence in Berlin. The magnificent palace complex is surrounded by a unique, Baroque garden that merges into a landscaped park. The palace and its garden were originally built as a summer residence for the Prussian queen, Sophie Charlotte and was expanded by subsequent rulers. The palace was heavily damaged in WWII and was restored to its original beauty over the course of many, many years and at an enormous monetary cost.

We toured the entire palace, all floors as well as the adjacent buildings. I can not even describe the grandeur of these rooms and Gerhard kept remarking that “all of this was for one person-Queen Sophie Charlotte, only as a summer home”. While it is true that there are many such glorious historic sites to be seen in Berlin, it is important to remember that only the elite lived in this manner and our ancestors were living perhaps 3 family groups to an apartment during and after the war.

Following the visit to Charlottenburg Palace, we ate lunch in a café in the Palace and I had quiche which is again something I had never had back in the US. It was good to sit for a while because all this walking is definitely foreign to me!

We then set out to return back to Marzahn, first by bus back to Berlin proper where we walked around this particular area of Berlin for some time. At this location is found the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church which was another church heavily damaged during the war.

Due to the extensive damage, the church was rebuilt in a modern style but the remnants of the original church remain as a memorial site.

We then boarded the S-Bahn to return to Marzahn. As it was 5:00 p.m. the trains were crowded beyond capacity with workers returning home and the train was standing room only which is a feat to manage as these trains travel at high, high speeds. As soon as a seat was vacated, I quickly grabbed it as it was very difficult to maintain one’s balance.

We had carried umbrellas with us all day and there was no rain and we were remarking about how lucky we were when only a few blocks from the apartments a downpour occurred and we were soaked by the time we returned to our apartments.

Following a trip back to my apartment to change and dry off, I returned to Gerhard’s apartment where he showed me perhaps 5 video tapes that he had created over the years. One of his passions is to video tape all the activities he and his family take part in over the year and then work on creating one video tape presentation of the best of the features splicing all tapes together. He begins the tape with New Year’s Day and ends with the following New Year’s Eve. They are awesome to behold and we watched tapes from 1993, 1995 and 1998 as well as old movies that he created in the 1950’s and has now transferred to DVD’s. A true genealogist indeed and a talented photographer and video technician. I enjoyed these tapes immensely and was able to see family members of Gerhard’s branch of our Kolberg family who are no longer living.

We had the usual dinner fare and I returned to my apartment about 9:30 p.m.

Above photos - Copyright © 2008 by Cheryl Schulte

1 comment:

Jasia said...

My feet hurt just reading about all the walking you did! LOL! It does make it apparent why we in the U.S. are more frequently overweight than our European cousins. If I did all that walking on a regular basis I'm sure I wouldn't be carrying this extra weight around or even have gained it in the first place. Having said that, I'm not ready to sell my car any time soon ;-)