And we are off! There it is. The very first place I visited from the list. Just another 999 to go. Should be easy right? Technically I visited Berlin before I started this quest officially, but since I visited it so recently, last January, I am going count it. After all, it is my quest!
The Brandenburger Tor was built in 1788 as a Prussian victory arch. Ironically it became part of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Between the erection and the fall of the Wall, the Brandenburger Tor was literally located in no-mans land. It is hard to imagine when you see all the people freely wandering underneath now. Symbolically it is still the gate from East to West Berlin. On the east side of the gate (my back was pointing at it when I took the picture) you’ll find the picturesque Unter den Linden.
The statue on top of the gate is a quadriga, a two-wheeled chariot with 4 horses and was briefly stolen by Napoleon in 1806. Eight years later a heroic German Field Marshal returned the quadriga to Berlin and it was promptly declared as a symbol of victory. Since then the lovely lady, the Greek goddess Victoria, in the chariot is wearing a staff with a Prussian Eagle. The original statue was lost in World War II, so the gate now features a replica.
Brandenburger Tor is a lovely monument but unfortunately I couldn’t enjoy it for long as it was bitter cold (-10 degrees!). It was surprising that there were still so many tourists out and about. Tourists are everywhere, whether it is 10 below or 40+ degree weather. The weather also meant that I didn’t looked around very much as my hands were falling off, despite thick gloves.
I certainly would like to see the Brandenburger Gate at night when it is all lit up. This place is definitely much better in spring when the weather is milder and you can just wander underneath the gate and walk down Unter den Linder to take a look at the embassies or stroll to the Reichstag for a visit to the dome.
I am a 100% going to regret this picture later but it seems nice to include pictures with myself in it to see that I have actually been there! I am trying to smile but I was extremely cold..