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It was a glorious morning in Berlin with blue skies and temperatures hovering around 25C. While the better half had to stay home due to a back injury, the two of us decided to make the best out of a packed morning. We started out by visiting the Reichstag dome, a large glass installation with a 360 degree view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape.

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The debating chamber of the Bundestag, the German parliament, can be seen down below.

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A mirrored cone in the center of the dome directs sunlight into the building, and so that visitors can see the working of the chamber.

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The dome is open to the public and can be reached by climbing two steel, spiraling ramps that are reminiscent of a double helix.

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The Dome symbolizes that the people are above the government, as was not the case during the dark years of National Socialism and the communist era in East Germany.

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It’s hard to get a reservation for the dome, the second most visited attraction in Germany, but there’s a little trick: Make a reservation at the adjacent Cafe Kaefer and the entry to the dome is guaranteed.

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A little bit pricey for 30 Euros but you can share the feast with two people. We deserved it!

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Also a great place to take selfies. Two selfies for the price of one.

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The German flag was flying proudly in the Berlin sky.

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The Victory Column in the middle (nothing to do with the German World Cup win), bell tower to the right and the concert venue (Slang: pregnant oyster) to the right.

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In front of the Reichstag, a protest against rising rents in Berlin.

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On the way to our next adventure, we encountered this plaque, remembering the genocide on Sintis and Romas. The city is littered with remembrances and monuments of the crimes committed in the dark years of Germany.

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Next stop, the German Historic Museum. While I thought it was worth a visit, Astrid thought it was boring. Not a lot of interactivity, too much focus on Germanic tribes and too many things to see at once.

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She thought the old car was pretty cool.

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Original sign from the East German protests in 1989 that led to the demise of the hated Wall.

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Quick stop above the Spree before we headed into the DDR Museum (on the right). DDR = Deutsche Demokratische Republic = East Germany (BRD = Bundesrepublik Deutschland = West Germany)

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It’s a very interactive experience, allowing people to sit in the old plastic cars aka Trabants, touching school books, looking at old grocery packages etc.

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The bottom left jar is Ketchup. No wonder capitalism won.

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It was Astrid’s first time using a typewriter. Fascinating to see how she treated it like a keyboard, pushing slightly on the key, claiming “this thing doesn’t work.” After showing her how to push hard on the keys and explaining that I used to write term papers and short stories on this thing, she was able to write a sentence. And believe for the rest of time that I’m older than dirt.

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It was a wonderful experience for her, very tactile and exploratory.

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In old East German tradition, I had to drag her into the interrogation room and she admitted to everything. Sentencing was scheduled for later in the year.

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What did I learn? East German children had communal potty breaks in their preschool. Learning the advantages of community early on.

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After a few souvenirs, it was time to head home. Including an ice cream break.