Berlin is a huge, fast-paced city with an art scene the envy of Europe and a chequered history both turbulent and grand. To encompass all of this, the gang and I decide to squeeze in as much as me we can with 2 back to back walking tours… Berlin itself then a 3rd Reich one.
The general tour begins at the Brandenburg Gate, once a symbol of a divided city, and the crumbling remnants of the Berlin Wall that can still be seen there. There are countless unique memorials and sites around holding significance in Berlin’s more recent history, all designed to provoke thought as well as commemorate, such as the Jewish Memorial, the empty shelves of Bebelplatz and the Memorial to the Persecuted Gays. Onwards to the Reichstag… a magnificent building that holds a special symbolic meaning. Outside, its role is once again as the home of Parliament, and the great glass dome that today crowns the building offers sweeping views over Berlin as well as some over the politicians… which is its purpose. To have the pollys scrutinised by the public and they have to look up to those they are supposed to be serving.
Then its on to the 3rd Reich tour and Checkpoint Charlie which overlooks the former border checkpoint dividing East and West and explains how the city came to be divided overnight (seriously literally the entire wall built in a single night!), as well as describing attempts to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. Ironically now right next to a McDonald’s… lols.
Finally we also get to see what’s left of the bunker where Hitler killed himself and his 1 day married wife at the end of WW2, and it’s now a car park. Why i hear you ask? Simple… virtually all Nazi gear was systematically dismantled so no new 4th Reich.
After all that walking its back to the hotel for the meeting of the NEWBIES… 8 new folk joining us on the next leg of the tour… as well as new guide Peter from the Netherlands. Everyone went to a restaurant that DIDN’T do German food… screw that I’m off to find German food… and find it in did. Fantastic kransky and sauerkraut with a German beer… paid up and returned to the group to find they haven’t even started yet. Lols. After dinner its go to supermarket to buy food for the big trip the day after tomorrow as the supermarkets will be closed tomorrow.