After all the walking of the last week, we opted for a more chilled day with a little less walking. The plan was to have breakfast at a coffee shop at 9:15am and then take a Berlin city hop-on-hop-off bus tour to get a better overview of the city. The tour we chose was a 2-hour round trip and we hopped on Gendarmenmarkt (in front of the Conzerthalle). We stayed on the bus until the stop before we go on (which was Checkpoint Charlie).
It was overcast the whole morning – which was nice not having to sit in the sun on the bus – but unfortunately with the windchill factor it was pretty cold (and some of us didn’t have jerseys). It was still a good trip though the English commentary was a lot less than the German commentary particularly because the driver was adding to the German commentary. The trip does take you past all the important sites including Berliner Dom; Humboldt University (where numerous famous people including Einstein attended); Holocaust Memorial; Brandenburg Gates; Reichstag; Tiergarten; Schloss Bellevue (official resident of President of Germany) and then finally Checkpoint Charlie.
As I mentioned above we got off at Checkpoint Charlie and went into museum shop. They sell bits of the wall by weight in the shop. Pieces of concrete … I wonder how many people buy those believing it is really a part of the wall?! Could be from any random piece of concrete chopped up. Pretty good business if people are foolish enough to buy it. We did wonder down a block to a place where a section of the wall is preserved. It is the site of the Gestapo Headquarters from WWII which was destroyed in bombing and totally destroyed after the war. They now have a museum called Topography of Terror which is both an inside and outside museum. Matching in length to the piece of the wall still standing are displays talking about the rise of the Nazis, aspects of WWII, persecution of the Jews etc. We walked along and read and looked at the photos. It was quite sobering. There was so much it took us an hour to walk and read the whole thing. You finish one panel and think ‘I’ll skip the next one’ only to be drawn in by the title and then you start reading and simply cannot stop. It reminded me again to be thankful for those who fought and lost their lives in WWII for the Allies. It was for a good and right cause. It reminded me of my grandfather who fought (and fortunately survived) in WWII.
After lunch, some of us headed back to the hotel to rest (me, S & C) while Michael and Oli went to the Berlin Cathedral and the Holocaust Memorial. Helen went to the Tiergarten and the Holocaust Memorial. For dinner tonight we ended up as the same place as last night. We really enjoyed last night and figured there was no point not going back and doing the same thing again. Coffee, hot chocolate and whiskey (for S) back at the hotel and soon time for bed.
P, H, S, C, O & M (because he did the least today)