Walking Tour of Berlin

Trip Start Dec 27, 2010
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Trip End Aug 15, 2011


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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Despite Jack's prediction, there were no more screams in the night (at least none that we heard).  We got up and ready to go on a walking tour of Berlin that Mark had researched.  After a few false starts and return trips to our hotel room for weather-appropriate clothing, we got on our way to the metro to meet up with the tour group.  We arrived just in time to join the tour.  Our guide was Tarek, a young architect from New York who had and been living and working in Berlin for three years.  His mother was German, and he had a great interest in and passion for German history.  He gave guided tours to earn extra income, and as we soon found out, he was a fantastic tour guide!  He started with a very condensed history of Germany -- up to the 20th century -- then began the walking tour from there.

We saw many of the historical buildings and monuments of Berlin, including a preserved section of the Berlin Wall and the incredibly thought-provoking memorials to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Fallen Soldiers, and the Burning Books (to commemorate the burning of about 20,000  "subversive" books from the Humbolt Univesity -- whose alumni includes Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, and Otto von Bismark -- by the Nazis in 1933).  Tarek gave so much context -- including personal -- to what we saw, that we felt a much better connection with the experience of Berliners during the 20th century.  We felt so lucky to have been on this tour, with this man for a guide.

After five hours (and three kids running out of energy) the tour ended Brandenburg Gate.  From there, we walked down the avenue and made our way back to our neighbourhood of Kreizberg.  There was lots of activity on the streets, with people eating and meeting in outdoor restaurants and bars.  We came across an Indian restaurant, whose aromas drew us inside.  The dinner was delicious, and afterward, we wandered back to our hotel for the evening.  For some reason, Alison decided to have a cappucino instead of hot chocolate (this may explain why she was sitting up on her bed, fully dressed for the day, at 4 am).  

We all did some sorting out and packing for our morning departure on the train to Borghorst.  We were really looking forward to having a visit with the family I had met and visited so long ago.

Kath

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