Due to the number of pictures – I divided this into two parts.
Despite our delay enroute, we arrived on time in Warnemunde on time. Warnemunde, 120 miles north of Berlin on the Baltic Sea, was part of the former East Germany. We would have liked to look around the town, but went immediately to our train cars for the 3 hour trip to Berlin. We shared a compartment with Tony & Joyce from Cambridgeshire in England and enjoyed a pleasant conversation which made the time fly. It seems there always much to discuss with fellow travelers from other countries.
We arrived in the Ostbahnhof train station, located in the former East Berlin.
At the station we met our guide for the day, Marcos, a native Berliner, and followed him to our bus. As we drove through Berlin it was apparent that even though the wall came down 25 years ago, there is still a discernible difference between west and east. The former East Berlin is catching up, but slowly – after all they were divided for 45 years. As Marcos discussed the mind set of Germans, since the war, and now. he said that for many years after the end of WW II, Germans felt a “sense of national shame”, and an entire generation of Germans were fearful of expressing any pride in Germany. This era also favored the rise of socialism within government. The current generation of young Germans appears to be cultivating a healthy national pride in their country, but sometimes this carries with it blatant nationalism, or neo-Nazism. As Marcos discussed the affects of this on current political affairs, he said that Angela Merkel’s actions, allowing millions of refugees into Germany, has met with massive resistance among the German people and placed her future in doubt. The similarity to our situation in the U.S. is striking – one party advocating “America first” and the other party labeling them “racist”. Our conversation on the train with the couple from the U.K. seemed to point to a similar situation in Great Britain with their recent Brexit vote. I find the similarity in these situations in three different countries very interesting – maybe it is a common desire to “throw the rascals out”.
The famous Brandenburg Gate – the ancient “entry” to Berlin. It was at this spot that Ronald Reagan made his famous speech telling Breshnev to “tear down this wall”.
The Reichstag, or parliament house of Germany, where Adolf Hitler was originally elected Chancellor. Eight weeks later he established a virtual dictatorship.
This tower, built during the USSR period, contains a copy of “Sputnik” as a tribute to the spacecraft.
The Victory Column.
One of the many canals in Berlin.
This church, damaged during the bombing in WW II is being left in its damaged state as a memorial.
We were tempted to get a set of these for each of us – don’t you think I would look dandy in lederhosen?
Not all of the buildings in Berlin are ancient – these are near Potsdam Platz.
This is the Monument to the Murdered Jews of World War II, also called the Holocaust Memorial. It is designed in such a manner that people moving through it seem to disappear into it, due to the varied height of the stones.