Feb 01, 2005
Dec 31, 2013
We stayed in East Berlin, a place we never would have been able to be, only 16 years ago. Much has changed in those 16 years. Germany is moving on but not ignoring the past. A massive new monument to the Jews who were murdered (yes, the word murdered is now used) has been recently completed in Berlin. Germany is deeply in debt because it took on the problems that the communist East had when it was unified, but there is an air of prosperity. The East Germans do not speak a lot of English though and we had a very difficult time buying tickets to get to Poland, which was our next destination.
What an amazing city! While checking in we renewed acquaintances with a couple we had met and had a drink with in Amsterdam.They told us they had been enjoying Berlin and that we should do a walking tour of the city. Proved to be good advice as it to date has been one of the best guided tours I think we have ever undertaken. It was a marathon 5 hours and only cost 9 Euro each. The guide was passionate about his subject and was actually a Canadian of German descent, who spends his holidays being a tour guide. Berlin has so much history and it is all around wherever you go. There are of course 2 main threads of history which run through Berlin - Hitler/World War 2 and the Cold War/Berlin Wall. The history and stories about the Berlin Wall are so heartbreaking. It went up overnight and people who were stuck on the wrong side that night, could never go home or see their family again for 28 years. Parts of the wall have been kept as is, and to stand there and see the no mans land, where so many potential escapees were shot and killed was sobering.