We arrived at the Hotel Leonardo around 5:00 PM. We had arrived in Berlin earlier and took a tour from our bus. We had visited before and had a much more extensive tour, so we didn’t feel cheated.
The city looks as if it is nothing more than one massive construction site. It is clear that when finished, it will most assuredly be a showcase of a city that shows its history, its present, and its future. It has experienced plenty of woe and has much to discuss on that issue.
I don’t remember all of the construction. I take that back, I do, but not to this extent. I have to give it to the German people because I am convinced that pretty much few nations could do things as quickly or as efficiently as they do. The former West Germany and its institutions and citizens have paid a heavy price to bring the former east up to snuff. I am amazed, especially as we viewed Dresden, at what they can do. Berlin will be amazing and I hope that I have a chance to get to see it.
One of the observations that I have is regarding smoking. It is clear that the Germans are more responsible in regards to climate change and taking care of their environment. They are way ahead of us in that area and in so many others. I am also amazed at not only how many Germans smoke, but that they smoke in such a way that things like outdoor cafés have become affected to the point that I feel as if I were in a restaurant, in the old days, and dealing with second hand smoke. I find it truly almost shocking. I am not saying that we don’t have issues, because we do, but we are actually a little better about not smoking so close to buildings. Now, I must also say that I know that regionally, things like smoking differ and it may be that I am living in a northern Illinois bubble.
We had a wonderful dinner in the hotel restaurant (on our floor) and then settled in as we had a very early wake up to get to the airport in Berlin (Tegel).