15 october 2005 - canal tour

anna, jana and i took a trip around the berlin canals with a bunch of friends from work on the 15th of october. although it is not internationally known for it, berlin does have a rather extensive system of canals and rivers. i have even been told that berlin has more bridges than any other european city. given cities like venice, i find that hard to believe, but for it even to be plausible, there must be a bunch.

the trip was over 3 hours in total, something which proved a little chilly in the long run. the children were fine, as they ran around, but some of the adults were a bit miserable at the end. i had dressed for it, with extra layers everywhere. it helps to be canadian sometimes.

the bridge is oberbaum brücke, the bridge between friedrichshain and kreuzberg. the canals zig and zag all over but in general there were two halves. the bottom half went from jannowitzbrücke through kreuzberg through schöneberg and out through charlottenburg. i could look up what all these places and buildings are, but i think neither of us would be any smarter if i did.

this first building with the plane on top is the technisches museum. the rest of these highrises belong to the potzdamer platz cluster. i have no idea what the chopped-off u-bahn looking sculpture is doing up there.
the pink pipe building is a favorite among my colleagues. i don't know why, but one has to admit that it is a bit bizarre. after this the canal loop swung north and east again, through moabit and mitte.
this long snakey building was built for all the public servants coming back to berlin when bonn was shut down after the wall came down, but they didn't really want to live there, and instead started a trend of renovating old beautiful apartments in mitte and prenzlauerberg. this trend continues to this day, but the good deals are mostly gone. berlin is still one of the cheapest cities in europe, but my guess is that this won't last another ten years.

the next building was a present from the u.s.a. to germany, called the house of the cultures of the world. it was shut down because the construction was faulty and some pieces of the roof fell down on people. it has recently been fixed and reopened.

the buildings following belong to the government. the first on is the kanzleramt, the headquarter of the german chancellor. then comes the construction site of lehrter bahnhof, the new grand central which is scheduled to open some time in 2006.

after a few more canal-side buildings we see a back view of the reichstag, the seat of the government. a couple of pictures later comes friedrichstraße, one of the largest downtown train stations. somewhere along there we also saw a poster of a couple of happy guys, hopefully comedians.

here is the fernsehturm and one of the museums on the museumsinsel, the museum island. this little island isn't entirely populated by museums, but perhaps half of it is. then follows the berlinderdom, and the fernsehturm reflected in the old city hall, due to be torn down.
finally, just before completing the loop, we passed the nicolaiviertel, the nicholas quarter. this has some of the oldest buildings in berlin, but it isn't very large, probably partly due to the second world war.

a quick glimpse back at the berlinerdom and the fernsehturm, and it is all over. fun, sunny, but ultimately too long for the temperature. if i were to do this trip again, i would go earlier in the year.