Original Plan was to get the 10 AM free walking tour, but the wake up time of 930 AM, didn’t quite make that happen, but hey we are on vacation. So, once we got up, had the breakfast at the hotel Earl and I headed to the West Berlin pickup spot at Zoo Station. We figured out how to navigate the U-Bahn kiosks this time (Progress).
We walked around the Zoo Station area and I was amazed at how much had changed since I was there back in 1993 for the high school tour. We met our tour guide, our other 3 Americans and a few others who were going on the 3.5 hour tour with us. Then we proceeded to get right back on the u-Bahn and head right back to the Brandenburg Gate. (Earl was going to laugh if we ended up right back at the Stadtmitte station where we started from). We didn’t get to see much of the Brandenburg Gate, since there were some Turkish dignitaries visiting, so we went to our first stop, which was the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe. It was definitely a memorial that is more complex than it seems at first and very disorienting as you walk through.
We then went to the car park (parking lot) that has a single sign which is the only indication that this was the remains of Hilter’s bunker.
Next stop was the Tax Office one of the government buildings that survived the bombing in World War II. Then it was off the Berlin Wall. There is little that remains.
Much less than there was, but the real surprise to me was Checkpoint Charlie. When I came as a high school senior in 1993, the sign, checkpoint, etc. were still in tact. Now it is simply a road sign and a traffic island in the middle of a busy street.
You would totally miss it if you weren’t looking for it. After a little break, we went right back to very close to our hotel and saw the Concert Hall and the two churches that Earl and I had walked by at least 8 times already on this trip.
After that was Bebelplatz outside of Humboldt University where the Nazis burned books and they have an underground memorial that is an empty library that represents all of the knowledge that was burned that day.
Last stop on the tour was the Berliner Dom and Museum Island.
After a full day of touring, we went to a restaurant and enjoyed talking with our touring partners before we left to go the Pub Crawl, which deserves its own blog post. 🙂