Looking completely out of place now in a side street along Erna-Berger Strasse in Potsdamer Platz is the last remaining watchtower of the Berlin Wall. There used to be up to two hundred of these towers stationed along the border. They were manned round the clock and deadly. No breach of the wall could be achieved without careful thought on how to get around these old fashioned CCTV’s. When the wall came down, I guess all that changed. They were reduced to being oversized homes to flocks of pigeons. It is no wonder they are all landfill now except this one.
Even then, this particular watchtower was originally located near Brandenburg gate. It did not fit anymore with the surrounding decor and was moved here out of the way unless one looked for it. It surely could do with a new coat of paint. For a few euros, it appears you can climb it and look out. Not expecting great views considering the height, I guess it is really only for the tourists wanting a photo inside one. We decided it was better spent on a hot cup of coffee instead. So, we left the bored looking guide at the base and moved on.
In walking here, we actually were already at Potsdamer Platz. This is Berlin’s glitziest and newest quarter. Equal in size to New York’s Times Square, it has a rich and illustrious history, being the central hub of Berlin early in the century. Sadly, it was razed to the ground during the war. As if that was not bad enough, it was then split down the middle with the wall and left to its own means like an abandoned derelict warehouse.
So, when reunification took place, it turned into a golden opportunity to rebuild it again. With a blank canvas to work on, some of the world’s finest architects including Renzo Piano offered their services. One now cannot visit Potsdamer Platz without admiring some of the amazing architecture around it. Here is a city that is looking at its shiny best. Even a few sections of the wall placed strategically beside the road looked more like modern art than a memory of its past.
As we eventually found our way into the Sony Center, the man almost went crazy with his camera. If you wanted modern looking, this is it. The futuristic plaza with a glass roof canopy that looked like the blades from a fan spread out above us. It is an undeniably striking design. I could just sit there all day and stare at it.
Christmas decorations also abound and we decided that we absolutely had to come back at night when surely the night lights would cast an extra dimension onto it. Of course, there are also plenty of shops and restaurants in case you needed a rest from the strain of looking up all the time.
For the kids, believe it or not, there is also Legoland! He, of course, wanted to walk in and no doubt, walk out with some Star Wars inspired toy, (as the Force has Awakened), but we were distracted by this red coloured median strip that divides Postdamer Strasse.
Wondering what it was as there were also random looking poles all along it, we figured we just had to check it out! Crossing the lights halfway and onto this median section with cars whizzing past us on both sides, we found ourselves surprisingly on Germany’s very own nod to Hollywood’s Boulevard of the Stars!
Here, we discovered gold stars on the grounds with names to Germany’s most celebrated actors and directors. But more than that, you are invited to have your photo taken with them through columns with special “ghost cameras” that dot the entire strip. They are simply looking glasses with images on them so when you look through one, you can see the superimposed images of the celebrity “standing” over their star.
This was indeed a novelty but as you would expect, we really did not recognize any of the names. Also it is strange that this was located on a small strip of land that divides the road instead of being on a proper pedestrian path. We also realised after a few minutes, that there was no one else here but us on the “Boulevard”. And everyone else probably wondering why are these two tourists doing on the median strip? Are they lost? So, after trying without luck to further see if we knew any of the names, we eventually crossed the remaining half of the road and joined the rest of the world.