Loved Berlin. So much history and it’s very accessible, with walks, talks and museums everywhere. Usually we do our own thing in just about every city in the world and would generally recommend the same policy to others. But Berlin is one city where there are lots of experiences served up to you that you should take advantage of.
Number one on the list is the ‘Walking Tour of Berlin.’ Our guide, Edo, took us on a four hour walking tour of the city. I have been put off tours previously by a couple of shockers, but this one sounded enticing enough to risk it again. And we weren’t disappointed! Edo, a Dutch guy, delivered a fantastic package. He was interesting, entertaining, even funny! The talk was really well paced and took us around to some wonderful places of interest along the way.
Edo had the large group eating out of his hand. East Berlin, West Berlin, the Berlin Wall, now protected by a fence, Brandenberg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, some stunning architecture. What an amazing city Berlin is. And to think it was almost totally destroyed in WWII. If you go to Berlin, and you should, do this tour!
We visited two other amazing museums during our visit: ‘The Story of Berlin’ and ‘The Jewish Museum.’ There are still others but after three sessions we both felt we had had enough war, destruction, murder and injustice to last us a while. The Story of Berlin tells the complete story of Berlin brilliantly. It takes you through a series of over 20 rooms, with each room highlighting another period or theme. I loved it! But it’s still hard to believe that the damn wall stood for 28 years, from 1961 -1989.
The Jewish Museum too was well worth a visit. It’s ironic that it has already had more than 7 million visitors, more than the number of Jews killed by Hitler in his final solution. The poor Jews have been persecuted throughout history! The museum isn’t as shocking or confronting as a concentration camp visit, but gets the message across in more subtle ways. The architecture of the building is pretty amazing, as is a lot of the architecture in Berlin generally. If you aren’t familiar with a guy named Schinkel, who is singularly responsible for many of Berlin’s architectural wonders, check him out!
We also visited a couple of markets around Berlin. Antiques, nick-nacks, food, clothes, books and toys were all on display and Jenny and I both enjoyed browsing. Sue and David would have loved them, with all the features of a French vide-grenier, but classier and more depth. We also cruised out to the Berlin Olympic Stadium to see where Jesse Owens and Hitler featured back in 1936.
It was great to see that heaps of the old East German Trabi cars have been kept for visitors to look at.
Our hotel in former East Berlin, looked after us superbly. The fruhstuck (breakfast) buffet kept us going for most of the day! All in all a great stay in a city that must be high up on anyone’s list of places to see in Europe.