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Mondays in Berlin

by Debra C. Argen
Frederick the Great Statue
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Berlin StatuesSince many business travelers to Berlin frequently find themselves with a few free hours between meetings, I wanted to explore what is available to do on a Monday in Berlin.


While I was in Berlin in March 2005 to attend The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences Star Diamond Awards, which each year honors the top hospitality professionals, and ITB Berlin, the International Travel Industry Trade Show, I found myself with a few free hours between client meetings and decided to use that time to explore Berlin. Since many business travelers to Berlin frequently find themselves with a few free hours between meetings, I wanted to explore what is available to do on a Monday in Berlin.

I was staying at the celebrated Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Unter den Linden 77, and since I had been to Berlin many times, I had already visited many of the historic sites in Germany’s capital city on previous visits. With this in mind, I bypassed stopping at the Brandenburg Gate, a classical style monument built in 1789, located just outside the hotel, the lovely Tiergarten, which is the largest park in Berlin, designer shopping along the famous Kurfürstendamm, the Zoologischer Garten Berlin (Berlin zoo-Aquarium), and decided to concentrate my efforts on Unter den Linden, a beautiful long boulevard, graced with spectacular architecture, museums, neoclassical palaces, restaurants and shops, and a large statue of Frederick the Great on horseback; I found much to occupy my time.

Although many of the museums are not open on Mondays, the Deutsche Guggenheim, Unter den Linden 13/15, is open everyday except for the ChristmasDeutsche Guggenheim holidays, has free admission on Mondays, and offers free-guided tours of the museum every day at 6:00 pm. I had a serendipitous find in their Jackson Pollock “No Limits, Just Edges”, Paintings on Paper exhibition of these little known graphic works. Jackson Pollock, (1912 – 1956) created around 700 of these works on paper, which feature pencil, watercolor, ink, collage, gouache, and poured enamel. The first work in the collection was dated 1935 and the last one was dated 1952. Since I have long been attracted to Jackson Pollack’s unique style, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the museum, and took time afterwards to stop in their gift shop and café after viewing their exhibition. The Deutsch Guggenheim is much smaller than other Guggenheim museums around the world, and they do not have a permanent collection; however, they do change their exhibitions 3-4 times per year.

Deutsche Stadt Opera HouseContinuing on my exploration of Unter den Linden, I passed Humbolt University, where Albert Einstein once taught, which is a beautiful building, and was once the palace of one of Frederick the Great’s brothers. I also stopped to admire the neo-Baroque architecture of the Staatsbibliothek, (National Library), Unter den Linden 8 with its ivy-covered walls. I visited the Deutschen Historichen Museum, Unter den Linden 2, which is composed of two buildings so different in style that you would not know that they were part of the same museum. The first is the Zeughaus, which is the oldest Baroque building on Unter den Linden, and was once used to store the royal weapons. The second building reflects a new modernity and was designed by I.M. Pei in 2003. Although the older building was closed due to renovations, I enjoyed walking through the large courtyard, where I was told that they hold concerts and other events, en route to the new I.M. Pei building to see their small exhibition. The museum is open everyday except Wednesdays, and the entrance is free.

With time still to spare in my agenda, I continued on Unter den Linden, and found that next to the Deutschen Historichen Museum there was a 1-hour boat ride leaving in a few moments that would allow me with just enough time to arrive back at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski on time for my appointment, so off I went. The Berliner Wassertaxi-Stadtrundfahrten runs year-round and makes 4 trips per day. The Dutch ship, originally from Amsterdam, was made in the 1960’s, and has the added cache of having once hosted The Beatles during their visit to Amsterdam, or so they claim. The 1-hour tour, filled with interesting historical information and a unique look at Berlin from the water, is usually only narrated in German, Saint Nikolai Church and Radio Towerbut on the day I visited, they also narrated the tour in English. A few of the sites we passed included the Nikolai Church, which is the oldest church in Berlin and is dated 1230, Bellevue Palace, which is the presidential residence, past the government district, and Museum Island.

On the way back to the hotel, I passed the box office on Unter den Linden for the Komishe Oper Berlin. The Komishe Oper Berlin, which is well known throughout Europe, presents avant-garde opera, ballet and musical theatre, and is located around the corner from Unter den Linden, at Behrenstrasse 55-57 in a beautiful opera house. I stopped in to see if there were any tickets for the evening’s performance, and found that I could still purchase two tickets, so I did.

With tickets in hand, I quickly walked the few blocks back to the Hotel Adlon Kempinski, and was on time for my meeting with Ms. Emilie Satomoyer-Swartjes, Public Relations Manager, for the hotel. Our meeting in the lobby conveniently coincided with Afternoon Tea, and Ms. Kathleen Winkler, the Hotel Adlon Kempinski’s Tea Master, Hotel Adlon Tea Master Kathleen Winkleryes, there is such a position, helped us select the perfect tea to match our tastes from her wide selection of teas. The Hotel Adlon Kempinski is legendary for its service, so when Ms. Satomoyer-Swartjes told me about the new Tea Master program I was not too surprised. A Tea Master is much like a Sommelier is to wine; she is there to explain the various types of teas they offer and help the guest select the perfect tea for them, should they like to hear her recommendations. Ms. Winkler trained with the tea company, 1823 Ronnefeld, where she first studied in Frankfurt, took the test and passed, and was invited to attend a training program in Sri Lanka for the top 10 students. There she learned the fine art of picking tealeaves and buds. She learned that only 2 leaves and 1 bud are used from each plant, and that this ritual can only be repeated every 3 months. When you drink your next cup of tea, savor the intense care that went into its making. Everyone has his or her own particular favorite tea, perhaps depending on the time of day, mood or just individual taste, and I asked Ms. Winkler what some of her favorites were. She said that she enjoys Golden Assam in the morning and evening, and prefers Green Ying Ying before going to bed. When she told us about Assam tea and its little surprise, I had to try it. She returned with a silver teapot of Assam tea and a silver pitcher of cream. She poured the Assam tea into the teacup, and then gently added a little cream along the side of the cup, and almost simultaneously little “fireworks” occurred when the cream combined with the Assam tea! A remarkable display, which I found very entertaining, and once tasted, decided that I would like many a repeat performance.

The next time you find yourself in Berlin and are wondering what to do on a Monday, you now know that you have many options to consider; you can explore the city of Berlin, visit the historic sites, try your luck at the casinos, shop for designer clothes or a few souvenirs, or just stroll down Unter den Linden and find your own new discoveries. Of course, you could always sit in your hotel room and work, but then you would miss out on the beauty of Berlin, Germany.

Berlin Statues

You may also enjoy reading our other articles on Germany in our Destinations, Hotels & Resorts, Restaurants, Awards, Music Scene, Chefs' Recipes and Gastronomy sections, as well as our previous article on Berlin, DestinationsBerlin 2004.

© June 2005. Luxury Experience. www.luxuryexperience.com. All rights reserved. 

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