Berlin on a cold gloomy day
Trip Start May 03, 2012
9Trip End May 14, 2012
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Our first stop is the section of the city that still has parts of the "Berlin Wall". The Wall was 26 miles long and divided East Berlin from West Berlin. In 1961 the wall went up in one weekend. The original wall was made of wood and barbed wire and took over 30 years to replace it with concrete. When the Wall came down in 1989, the government asked professional painters to paint the remaining part of the wall facing East Berlin. The artwork is really beautiful. The West Berlin side is just covered in graffiti. It is really crazy to think that a wall, monitored by armed soldiers, separated a city right down the middle
Berlin is a really large city. It takes just over 2hrs. to get from one end to the other by car in regular traffic, but there are only 3.5MIL people. About 30% of the city is green space with parks and lakes. More than 70% of the city was completely destroyed by the end of WWII. Although we see many “old” looking buildings, they were all rebuilt after the war. Not sure if the gloomy day had anything to do with it, but Berlin is not a very pretty city. It has a very grey feeling with a lack of personality. The city obviously has a history of hardship and oppression, but they have really made some great strides over the last 20 years. The locals are very proud of how far they have come since the wall came down.
Via bus we drive all over Berlin seeing the top 10 sights. We see “Checkpoint Charlie”, a 17th Century castle (also rebuilt after the war), the Holocaust Memorial, Parliament, Hitler's home and the world’s second largest department store in the world called KaDeWe. We also see the upscale hotel where Michael Jackson famously dangled his baby over the balcony.
One of the coolest sights of the day was a BeerBike. 6 to 15 people are on a circular or oblong bike with a beer keg, tap and table. Each person has pedals and one person steers the bike. The person steering must be the designated driver and everyone else can have as much as they want. We saw 4 BeerBikes just driving down the road hooting and hollering, having an awesome time. I think Brett found his new business venture!
We don’t get back to the ship until 9:30pm and leave port at 10pm. We have a sea day tomorrow as we head to Tallinn, Estonia.