As we were approaching Berlin by train I have to admit I was a little skeptical. The area outside the city is not particularly pretty and is flat as a board. A bit of a contrast from the Alps we’d just left behind. If you like scenery and beautiful mountains, then the Bavaria region of Germany is for you. If you’re interested in history and architecture… Berlin is the place (though there is amazing architecture all over Germany and Europe for that matter); which we quickly realized after finding our way downtown.
Since we had such a short time in Berlin we decided to buy some passes for the Berlin City Tour; which are these cool double-decker busses that circle the city, stopping at all the interesting highlights. You buy an all day pass and then get on and off as many times as you want… which is perfect. When one bus leaves, another comes by in 10 or 15 minutes. Holly and I were captivated by all the things we got to see. We’ve seen some REALLY cool stuff from our world’s history… but this was stuff we had read about over and over in history books from school OR remember seeing on the news. Not the least of these was the remnants of the Berlin Wall.
Located just down the street from Checkpoint Charlie, this is the longest piece of the wall still standing. Behind it is an open air museum which outlines the rise and fall of Nazi Germany and beside it is the former headquarters of the Nazi SS. Having just been to the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau only days before, this was an interesting stop that helped continue to paint the picture of what all went on in this part of the world during World War II. The wall itself is surprisingly thin, I could have gripped it with my hand. When standing there staring at what is left though, I was struck by a similar thought that I had walking in to the concentration camps at Auschwitz; it is interesting how easily we pass from one side of Germany to the other now, when not that long ago you would have been killed for it.