The Genocide Tour Pat II: 28 Days

Trip Start Oct 20, 2010
Trip End May 03, 2011

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Flag of Germany  ,
Sunday, April 3, 2011

So here I am writing this with exactly four weeks left of my trip. Things are starting to feel like they are winding up now and in a way I am eager to get back, but push on I must (it's a difficult life...) 

Berlin is another city, like Copenhagen, where I have been relatively recently. However, unlike Copenhagen, where I retreaded a lot of the steps from my previous visit (not at all a bad thing) I managed to have such a completely different experience in Berlin than I had before, to the point where it felt like I had visited a different city.

I was staying in a completely different part of town (Kreuzberg, as opposed to over by Kurfurstendamm) and the atmosphere was completely different. It was a very young area with lots of alternative people and was fit to burst with the sort of culture that goes with an area like that. I have said a number of times about places that I think I could live there, but I think this is the first place I have really felt at home.

Because I had visited so recently I also avoided going back to any of the sites I had seen previously, so there will be no shots of the Brandenburg Gate or the Reichstag or any of the other famous sites unfortunately.

On the first day I had intended to make it out to Potsdam to see the Schloss Sanssouci, which is one of the old German palaces, similar to Versailles in Paris, but unfortunately this plan was destroyed by the loudest snorer in the history of existence being one bed over from me. I didn't get much sleep, and as a consequence missed getting up at a time which would have made it practical, given the distance and the fact they only sell 2000 tickets a day. 

Instead I made it over to the Jewish museum, which is one thing I didn't get a chance to see last time I was in Berlin. It was a thorough and extensive museum which suffered from being a bit TOO thorough. I was there all afternoon, and frankly, by the time I left, I had given up looking at most exhibits in any sort of detail.

The second day I managed to drag myself out of bed despite another attack of the snore beast and make my way up to Oranienburg, about 45 minutes north of the centre for the afternoon, where I visited the site of the former concentration camp at Sachsenhausen. This again was a touch disappointing in comparison with the museum at Auschwitz.

It was a shame really as thanks to the circumstances (where the Nazis destroyed a lot of the buildings and therefore the interesting sites) it wasn't as complete as Auschwitz, which was left with many of the original buildings still standing. This meant that they had to try and fit a lot in to a much smaller site, and it ended up feeling cluttered.

It also didn't pack the same sort of emotional punch that Auschwitz did, probably because Sachsenhausen was never used as a death camp, although many murders did take place. I think maybe it is actually a very good museum and that my perception was spoiled a bit by how good a job Auschwitz did with its no holds barred memorial of the events that took place and this has set the bar a bit too high. I am going to Dachau near Munich in a couple of days, so I will see how that one compares.

On the last full day I dragged my sleep deprived body down to Leipzig, but that will be a separate entry...
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