Horror, Power. Glory and FIFA

Trip Start Mar 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 17, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Germany  ,
Sunday, July 25, 2010

WE flew into Berlin on German Wings which provided great service as usual and then began the trek via train to our Hotel – A&O Berlin – Hauptbahnhof.  Just lucky that we found some very helpful local guys who helped us to the right station as it was a number of connecting lines that it took to reach the main station and then walk a couple hundred meters to the Hotel in a relatively quiet back street in what was east Berlin. On reaching the hotel we found that it was in the midst of extensive renovations and our room was one of the new rooms – It was large – 6 bed room- which was great but had no TV or internet WI Fi connection in the room or laundry facilities as advertised on booking.com so we were a little disappointed. The manager helped out by finding a TV the next day so we could watch the world cup and then took some money off the price of the room. We should have known it was dodgy when they demanded payment on arrival!!!!

Day 1

Regardless of it's short comings, the motel was in a great position – just a short walk to the Reichstad, which is where the German Parliament sits now that it has moved from Bonn where it resided whilst the wall was still in place. There is a sad, jagged memorial beside the main building which remembers the parliamentarians which were killed as Hitler swept to power. It gives pause to thought as there were many.

We then meandered down through park land to the Brandenburg gate which is just an amazing place. You could just sit and take in the atmosphere for quite some time.  We then walked about a hundred meters and were greeted by a field of black concrete pillars – the Jewish memorial. At first it looks bland but as you begin to explore you find this memorial is filled with mystique with undulating ground and soaring pillars forming long corridors where strangers just pop out in front of you and people straggle through.

When we reached the other side we entered the holocaust museum. Words cannot express the sadness in the stories within these walls, the terrible atrocities, shown here. It brings a tear to your eye. We then started walking down to checkpoint Charlie, however we made a detour to one of the beautifully ornate shopping centers, with its quirky design, and retro feel... however it was only good for photos. There is nothing really left at checkpoint Charlie except for the outpost, and actor guards standing out the front. So try to sneak in a photo otherwise you might have to pay for it. Then, take a walk down the walls and read of all the escape attempts that happened.  Some of them are funny and some are just bizarre, but underneath you feel the sense of pain and agony for all the people who didn't make it through.  We didn’t go into the checkpoint Charlie museum because it cost too much for a family at 40 euro per person.

Another day we went to museum island, a dedicated island full of museums, such as the Neues Museum and the Pergamon museum. Both these huge museums, have some of the most important historical artifacts known to man, such as the bust of queen nephetiti, the artifacts of troy, and many more artifacts just waiting to be seen. After spending more than half the day examining each one, we exhaustedly walked to Berliner Dom, and had a tour in there. The place has only been newly rebuilt as the war had severely damage the original, and the roof had fallen in. Now you can examine almost every inch of this place, even up the top around the roof. From there you cn see the museum and the rest of the sights. Another museum to recommend would be ther berliner teknic museum, which is full of scientific things, and is truly amazing with interactive displays for the little ones and enough things for the adults to do as well. On the way home that day, we went past the german center for the FIFA world cup. They had one of the main streets closed down and everything from sausages, to entertainment was down that street with massive televisions everywhere. 
 The berlin wall was both a highlight and a solemn reminder of what happened in this laid back metropolis that stands in place today. There are paintings on the wall by the people who were trapped by it, some protesting out against it, and some just for humour and entertainment.  These thing, made by hatred and war, have made this a unique and intruiging place, full of pain and agony, but bustling with joyful people and chic modern buildings and attractions...   There was much much more that we could have seen in Berlin if we had a little while longer, but alas we did not. 
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