Berlin was the second stop in our pre-Christmas tour this year. We arrived in the city excited to explore and spent our first day on foot first checking out the Berlin Wall Memorial which was close to the flat we rented, and continuing the history tour to Checkpoint Charlie. For me the Wall and CC reminded me most of my own freedom and those who fought for it – things I generally take for granted until I am starkly reminded, along with the fact that this part of Berlin’s history is not that long gone. That night when we got back to our flat, we were stunned by the news of the terror attack at a Christmas market – an area we planned to visit the next day. Needless to say the night was one of very mixed emotions- including whether or not we would leave earlier than planned. In the end we decided to stay, and I’m thankful we did.
While we shopped, like our other trips, we also spent our time eating delicious foods (schnitzel, goulash, spatzle, chocolate, pastries, and the coffee!). In fact, what better place to eat at than a spot named “Goulash Cannon,” right? And like we always try to do when we travel, we also had a night of Indonesian food after we tracked down the few Indonesian restaurants in the city.
We also spent a lot of time learning more about Berlin, Germany, and its history. We visited the Jewish Museum and the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe (whose presentations inside and out were absolutely stunning – see the pictures of the rectangular columns, underneath which was the museum itself, presented from the point of view of a number of families and their Holocaust plights). We wandered through the Brandenburg Gate, walked up the 200+ stairs of the Victory Column, which was dismantled during WWII, for 360 degree views of the city, and visited the Bauhaus Museum which was another homecoming for d2 since his own art school training was modelled on the Bauhaus school of thought. We visited Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp (which will have its own post) and the makeshift candlelight memorial for victims of the terror attack on December 19. Everyday we put in between 12-15 km of walking (which helped keep us warm in the damp December weather!).
This part of our trip was very different from our Copenhagen stay, but an important trip to us for sure, which I will never forget. Berlin surrounded us with history and also reminded us that our world today is deeply divided.