The trip was fairly un-eventful. We arrived in Berlin about 5pm and went to the holocaust memorial (memorial to the murdered jews of europe) which was pretty amazing. The man and I also had a quick look through the Tiergarten which is a huge garden that used to be the hunting grounds of nobility in Berlin. We also walked around the Brandenburg gate a bit too. We got to the hostel and they split boys and girls up – not cool. I think I might have known that was going to happen, but one couple didn’t know and they weren’t too happy. I was a bit bummed about it. Anyway after we got settled in we went down for dinner. Super very average. I ate two bites and then went and had a shower and chilled out a bit. By then I was pretty cranky. After my shower I headed up to the bar and it was pretty cool, 7th storey rooftop bar and nice weather. I wasn’t in a drinking mood so had one and then did some washing and headed to bed early-ish. Everyone else was at the bar planning to have a few quiet ones but it turned into a huge night. The man and Paul were out until 3am until the bar shut.
After a very average breakfast we headed out to meet our tour guide, Jeff for our walking tour of Berlin. I was really looking forward to it and I wasn’t disappointed. We met at the Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels forum and he gave us a quick overview of Berlin’s history. First he showed us the old palace of the republic which was destroyed when the Communists came into power and rebuilt as a people’s palace. It has now been destroyed again and when rebuilt will have the same facade as the original palace. We then headed over to ‘museum island’ which funnily enough is an island full of museums. The man was drooling just a little bit. We then walked down Unter Den Linden and saw Humboldt University, State Opera House and the site of the Nazi book burnings. There is a glassed underground exhibit visible from the ground with empty bookcases that hold 20,000 books – the number that were burned. We then walked pst the US, UK, Russian and French embassies and around the Brandenburg gate again and took photos of the Reichstag. We had a morning tea break and bought pretzels and my first decent coffee since I left Melbourne – both of which were awesome. We saw some more of the Berlin wall and the Nazi air ministry. There was a topography of terrors exhibit on the site of the old SS and Gestapo headquarters that we didn’t get time to see. Some of the other people on our tour made it there and said it was very graphic and detailed.
Our guide had lots of stories about people going over the wall, one guy got himself and his wife and kid over on a flying fox type thing. We walked over to Hitlers bunker, well the site of Hitlers bunker. There wasn’t much there just a patch of dirt and a small sign. Jeff explained that because there are still neo-nazis the Germans don’t want to make a song and dance about the bunker as an attraction in case it is treated as a memorial. Then we walked down to Checkpoint Charlie and heard some more stories. Like one guy rented a convertible low enough that it could be driven beneath the guard gates so he sped through in that. Another guy heard about it and though it sounded like a good idea so he went and rented one and did the same thing. Turns out it was exactly the same car. Went through the Checkpoint Charlie museum but it was very average.
Afternoon was free time and I told the man we could go to one museum so we headed off to the Pergamom museum. On the way we stopped at a street market and bought some kind of delicious wurst in a crusty bread roll, proper german food boo-yeah! We both loved it. The museum was good although we were tiring fast. Saw the reconstructed Ishtar gate (one of the gates to the city of Babylon). We didn’t get to fully appreciate the museum but it was pretty good anyway.
Weather so far has been brilliant, I was in shorts and t-shirt and for an eskimo like me thats pretty good. We went back to our hostel for a shower before dinner, well I did – the man went to bed for a bit. We met up again (separate rooms remember) and went to find some dinner and bumped into Paul and Kara who joined us. Had a ‘furnace potato’ with curry chicken which was pretty good. The man had a schnitzel the size of a large plate.
After that we went to our ‘eye spy’ night. The first part was good we went to the Bernauer Strasse which was the area with the most number of tunnels dug, saw part of the death strip which was especially creepy at night. The actual ‘spy’ part was very lame. The first bar we went to we got clues to get to the next one. Except the clues were more like instructions. The first bar was a shisha bar – we didn’t try it though. We were wrecked after that so left to go back to the hostel and of course got lost. Well semi-lost its a bit hard to get lost in Berlin with the massive tv tower.
Bed, up early to head off to Prague. Another average brecky. Warm milk with very average cereal.
After we left Berlin we went to Dresden for an hour or so which was nice. It was really beautiful but we didn’t have time to look around too much. We went and got another wurst for lunch but not as good as the one we had in Berlin. I seem to have gotten over my fear of white bread – temporarily at least anyway. Followed it off with an ice-cream from possibly the rudest guy in Germany.
In Prague now.