April 12th, 2012
This morning we met our tour guide, Uta, to tour East and West Berlin. We saw the new churches, museums, opera houses, and libraries that had been built as a result of the Berlin Wall’s establishment. Our first big step of the day was going to The German Parliament building where we learned history of the Reichtag. That was followed by a walk through the Tiergarten (which means animal garden.) The family that owned that property used those grounds to hunt animals. They also happened to be the family that built Schloss-Charlottenberg as their summer palace. The Tiergarten can be thought of as the equivalent to New York City’s Central Park.
This walk led us to The Brandenburg Gate, and newly modernized East Berlin. East Berlin has made major headway since its Communist rule! And Berliners wear that fact with pride. They do not, however, appreciate being referred to as East/West Berliners. But for the sake of these writings, bear with me! Filled with new shopping malls and modern city buildings, East Berlin looks like any other city: a history and a future included. What really stood out to me in East Berlin was the Holocaust Memorial. Concrete pillars towered above our heads as we walked through the cobblestone waves. I don’t think I can really put into words how great this memorial was, and how it really depicted the loneliness of a concentration camp I’ve only read about. I think to understand the same feeling, you’d have to look at the pictures I posted below.
Later on, we had free time to roam the city. Exploring the Sony Center (a local shopping place whose appeal lay mostly in its free Wi-Fi), we meandered back to the East, until our feet hurt, when we retired to the hotel for an afternoon nap.
Post nap, we visited the East Side Gallerie, and Checkpoint Charlie (including its museum.) Much like the Holocaust Memorial, not much can be told about the Gallerie and Checkpoint. The stories lie in the pictures. But maybe that’s just the photographer in me speaking. 😉
Afterwards, we traveled to Wirtshaus Alte Stadtmauer for curried turkey, rice, and potato soup. Yum!