World War II History

Trip Start Oct 29, 2012
Trip End Nov 27, 2012

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Flag of Germany  ,
Monday, November 12, 2012

Arrive safely in the Northern German city of Berlin. Full of a tragic and colorful history, we start of at its most famous landmark, the Hauptbahnof Railway Station! Given its close proximity and abundance of shops, we decide to stay here rather than venture out. Cheap cosmetics, bottles of water, ice-creams and McDonalds - all of our provisions satisfied in one spot.

Today represents our first fill of junk food. Even though we had some language barriers with the McDonald's staff (what is German for Big Mac???), it all works out and soon we are devouring that familiar taste. Luckily when I go back for a cup of tea I recognise the German word n the menu: Tee. Nice.

A memorable trip to the Berlin Wall and discover the remains of that wall and tragic history surrounding it. Despite the many souvenir outlets and fast food places in what was previously 'No-Man's Land' it is a somewhat sombre occasion to understand the history of the Wall and its tragic consequences upon many families separated for a generation, not to mention the many lives lost in attempting to cross this insurmountable barrier. We take many photos and read the history of the Wall along the roadside. Most interesting is the graffiti scrawled on the remains of the Wall: some sad, some funny and some just angry. A historical visit of not only the Wall but a reminder of the Cold War era and its lasting consequences.

Our visit into the old 'East' Germany, though unified with the West since 1989, does show signs of its communist and impoverished past. The grand Television tower still stands as a symbol of communism might.

A visit to the Brandenburg Gate is a stark reminder of the power of the old Prussia Empire (Northern Germany, sorry for the history lesson). Of course it was used by the Nazi's as a symbol of Germany's power, also as a centre piece by JFK for his Cold War speech and US President Ronald Reagan's "Mr Gorbachev, bring down the Wall" speech. The most dramatic however was Napoleon Bonaparte's grand entrance into Berlin in 1806 after his victory over the Prussian Army. To consider we stood and walked through the Gate as Napoleon was a great thrill. The Brandenburg Gate, with Westminster Abbey, was high on our list of must-see, and it did not let us down: Remarkable!

The Reichstag building (German: Reichstagsgebäude) in Berlin was constructed to house the Reichstag, parliament of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire. At the end of the World War II it was in ruins after severe bombing and left as such for some 25 years until its restoration. Another magnificent example of German architecture.

A trip to Europe's second largest department store (after Harrods) is KaDeWe. A mix of David Jones, Myer and the greatest food hall ever seen (by us). We have a great lunch there eating at our selected deli, we choose salmon quiche, turkey rolls, tea and danish. A memorable lunch and interesting browse amongst all the top label brands.
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