Monday, June 24, 2024

Berlin, Germany

Anna and I spent a long weekend in Berlin. I first visited in 1991 just two years after the wall fell. Although I have visited since then, hearing about the history of this city remains difficult. But I truly believe that those who do not study history repeat it. Here I am in front of the wall in 1991 when I was 24 years old.

Anna wanted one of our trips this summer to include an overnight train, so we boarded one from Amsterdam Centraal at 22:30 and arrived in Berlin at 06:30. Anna said she slept 'pretty well,' but I had a hard time falling asleep and probably didn't get more than a couple of hours. But it was more about the experience.

Anna is taking summer courses, so we sat at the train station for a couple of hours while she did homework. When it was open, we went through the DDR Museum where Anna 'drove' a Trabant.  

We checked into our Airbnb early, slept for a couple of hours, and then went to the Disgusting Food Museum. It was actually very interesting, as it showed disgusting foods from throughout the world. Upon admission, they give you a vomit bag. Luckily, we did not need it. 

We made our way to Checkpoint Charlie, an American-stationed crossing point between East and West Berlin when the wall existed. In the area was a portion of the wall although much of it has been taken down. 

The next day, we went on a walking tour, during which we learned a great deal about the war, the building of the wall, and the fall of 1989. 

This was the site where the Nazi's burned books. "That was only a foreplay, where you burn books you also burn people in the end." Heinrich Heine, 1820

I am standing on top of Hitler's bunker where the coward committed suicide. It is a now a parking lot.

A Jewish memorial.

A co-worker was also in Berlin so we met up with her and her daughter at a flea market which was lots of fun. 

The next day, we visited the East Side Gallery, which is the largest section of the wall that remains. The artwork was commissioned in 1990 and has now been determined to be historical and will remain. We also visited the Wall Museum, which was again just fascinating. 

We ended the day at the hotel where Anna did some more studying and I caught up on life. We will take an early flight back to Amsterdam tomorrow. Overall, it was a good weekend. Obviously, Berlin's architecture was impacted by the war so it is not as beautiful as one like Amsterdam. But I am glad Anna got to see it. 

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A beautiful sculpture along the river. 

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