Day One in Berlin:
Gallery Walls & Rösti
Arriving in Berlin, it was a bit cold and a little rainy.
We made our way to the East Side Gallery Wall to see the famous image of the "Kissing Brothers".
Matti was so excited to show us the images painted on the wall! What's so special about having Matti as our guide is that he lived in Berlin during the Cold War. He experienced the
While we were here, he told us a story of how a boy fell into the river at this point of the Wall. But who could save him? He was in between the borders of East and West Berlin. Such a sad story.
Hearing Matti's stories of his life during this time really brought that era to life. It was a good reminder of the harm egotism, ignorance, and selfishness can do.
Our time at the East Side Gallery Wall was a quick stop because we needed to check in to our hotel.
After check-in, we took a short walk in the neighborhood and Matti set us free for dinner, giving us some great recommendations for the best food!
I went with some tour mates to an Alsatian restaurant where I thoroughly enjoyed a Rösti (hamburger sandwiched between 2 potato pancakes)!
See below for more info!
Then it was off to bed to rest up.
Tomorrow would be a big day!
East Side Gallery Wall
Love - Hate sculpture across from the
East Side Gallery Wall.
I had never heard of a Rösti, but after a fellow tour member described it, I was hooked!
Burger, potato cakes, eggs, bacon...it didn't take much to convince me (haha!) :D
Berlin Day Two:
Memorials, Monuments, Memories
Our full day in Berlin was amazing!
We took public transportation to our meeting point with the guide for the day.
He took us all around the center of Berlin, visiting all of the major historical sites from WWII, the Cold War,
and the present.
Our guide for the day was an American history teacher working and living in Berlin.
He was very passionate about history and the city he now calls home. He was a walking encyclopedia!
I have a love of history, especially WWII, so I was super stoked to hear all of the stories
and information he shared with us!
Starting off at the Reichstag building, we then found the memorial to politicians. This was an interesting feature as it was right next to a public restroom facility. I think it looses some of its meaning and importance here. But I was moved to read all of the names and hope that their memory and sacrifice live on.
Outside the Brandenburg Gate is a marker on the pavement indicating where the Berlin Wall once stood. A constant reminder of the communist regime.
From there, we made our way to the
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
We were given some free time to wander through the stones and reflect on what we were experiencing.
I noticed while walking through it, that even though it seemed like a maze and you could get lost, there was always a way to see beyond the stones
and find your way out.
Maybe not the case for those imprisoned
in concentration camps.
The site of Hitler's bunker is just a parking lot for an apartment building. There is a plaque there marking the location--probably a good thing the compound is no longer there.
Now, we get into the Cold War era and the uprising of June 17, 1953. Workers went on strike because the government was increasing their quotas on which their pay was based. The protest was peaceful, even as it grew in size and momentum. It ended in violence, though, as the Soviet Unionist Party
used force to end the protest.
The Berlin Wall Memorial is directly behind the building where the strike took place, now the Federal Ministry of Finance. This building was used by the Nazis and then the Socialists. Can you imagine all the things that occurred in this building?
Checkpoint Charlie was neat to see but it was a bit touristy and crowded.
There were some guys on the corner trying to coerce tourists to play a game.
Our guide told us it was a scam and
moved us farther away.
After making our way past the Deutsches Dom and towards Museum Island, we ended our tour at the
Neue Wache (New Gaurd)--a striking memorial
(reminiscent of Mary cradling Jesus)
to the victims of war and tyranny.
Neue Kirche (Deutscher Dom)
Today's misadventure is two-fold:
another broken bag and a bloody nose.
I used a different bag this day to be able to
carry a water bottle with me (I didn't want to use my daypack). Well, just after we started our tour, the strap broke! Oi vey!
Luckily, a tour member happened to have a safety pin
with her and let me use it to hold my bag together.
Late in the afternoon, after some free time wandering Berlin, I got a bloody nose. Nothing terrible, but it was quite inconvenient. Good thing I always carry facial tissues with me and I was able to control the flow ;-D
"Bis zum nächsten Mal!"
Until next time!
Berlin Day Two:
With the afternoon free, I made my way to the Neues Museum (New Museum) to see the bust of Nefertiti.
I am fascinated with ancient Egypt, so I was determined to see her.
And, man, she was magnificent!
After exploring more of the museum, I walked through an outdoor market and picked up my final
souvenir magnet :D
By this time, I was ready for a rest and refresh before our final group dinner.
Nefertiti bust, Neues Museum
*Be prepared! Carry with you a few tissues, band-aids, safety pins...you never know when you might need one!
*Enjoy every experience, even the ones where you feel a bit uncomfortable, tired, or distracted.
Don't let negativity impact your journey.
Hover or click the pictures to view descriptions and see them larger.
My Favorite Berlin Things!
Myer's Hotel Berlin - Our hotel in Berlin. Lovely rooms, breakfast, and staff.
Reichstag Building - The Bundestag (lower house of Parliament) meets. Visitors can go up into the dome.
Brandenburg Gate - Historical landmark. Has represented various things depending on the politics of the day.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe - Somber but beautiful. A nice place for reflection and meditation.
Berlin Wall Memorial - Nice area to view and explore the wall up close.
Neues Museum - New Museum. Houses the Bust of Nefertiti and The Pergamonmuseum.
Ampelmann - The iconic walking man initiated during the Cold War and used only in East Germany. Fun souvenirs or gifts to bring home.