We walk from our hotel this morning towards Potsdamer Platz. It is cold outside, chilly enough that I wish I had gloves on.
As we walk and gaze up at the surrounding buildings, I realize that most of the buildings are massive. Massive and heavy looking. Massive and imposing. Can a building be massive and airy?
I think that maybe it is just those buildings around Potsdamer Platz and we will see some light airy structures further in our walk, but we don’t. The Reichstag (German Parliament) is even more imposing, but I guess if one building should be that way, it should be the main government building, to show strength and toughness and grit and a “Don’t mess with us” attitude.
Further along, we pass by the Opera. Tall, set up high, still imposing, but coral coloured. At least it is trying to be light and airy!
The Berlin Dom is our next stop. Again…..huge. It warrants an inside view of the dome as I do not think I have seen a dome this large before, so we pay the 7 Euro and head in.
As I sit in a pew and gaze up and around. Gold glints off the ceiling, frescoes abound, the stained glass is brilliant. But I feel very tiny sitting there. God and the church are these huge things, and the populace are these itty bitty tiny things? mmmmmm.
After a quick lunch of Bratwurst on a bun, we go for a walk down Karl Marx Strasse. It is an eight lane roadway, bordered on both sides by trees and tall buildings. The sense of scale, again, is massive. What I feel is missing is the volume of traffic, both vehicular and human, that the roadway can accommodate. It feels very empty for the grandiosness. I think of the Champs Elysees in Paris and it is grand, and full of traffic and shops and people. This is not.
I think this is the one impression I will be taking back with me about Berlin, imposing architecture that wasn’t totally comfortable for me.