Trip Start Aug 13, 2004
Trip End Sep 11, 2004

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Flag of Germany  ,
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Our globus tour started with dinner on the 15th august along with our fellow travel companions. This was the first meeting between us all, and we were pleasantly surprised not to be the youngest on tour, but to be beaten by a 13 yr old Canadian holidaying with his sister and parents. Most of the people are middle aged but with a good mix of Americans, aussies, and kiwis, along with 2 mexicans, all of whom have a good sense of humour, we are sure the next 2 weeks will be full of fun!!!!!

Our first drive was to Berlin which proved to be a long day. At 590 km from Frankfurt we left at 7:30 am and with the stops for lunch and toilet breaks along the way we arrived at 5:30pm.

We spent the night catching the bus to the Ku-Damm the centre of unified berlin and the eastern side of the once divided city. There we saw the remains of the bombed out shell of the Kaiser Wilhelm church, a reminder of the devastation of the bombing raids during WWII. Set amongst this church though we saw the nightlife of berlin with buskers breakdancing, and people just hanging out on a warm summer's night. Having never been to Berlin before I was expecting more of a punk rock scene with people getting around in Mohawks and leather black gear.

The next day involved visits to parts of berlin like Brandenburg gate, scene of the largest part of the wall and the biggest place of celebration when it fell. The adlon hotel is next to the gate made now infamous by Michael Jackson hanging his baby over the balcony. Remains of the wall around the city are scarce. Only a red bricked line winding through the city and 2 entact sections around the city are reminders of the division present in this city pre 1989. We were surprised that despite the bombings the east part of Berlin has much nicer architecture and overall is a better looking part of the city.

We found it interesting that the sight of hitler's bunker and the place where he committed suicide along with Eva Braun was not mentioned in tourist books and all that remains is a grassed block of land with a construction office located for the future development of office buildings. Below ground the remains of the bunker were blown up during the 70s. It is understandable how the germans have tried to restore most pre war buildings back to there intial state, but leave some sites to wither away in dust and make way for the future look of Berlin.

Having spent 2 nights in Berlin we have a better understanding of the past division of this city, the determination of people to flee the east, and now the beautiful restoration of city sites back to there pre war days, along with the construction of modern buildings. This is never more evident than Potsdamer Platz with its new buildings it really reminds us of Clarke key in Singapore.

We now have a long drive to Warsaw, Poland and more history and sights of WWII.
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