Monday, June 25, 2007

25.06.2007 Berlin en route to Munich

Hello again from Berlin! Sorry I couldn't write too much last night. Today however, I have plenty of time!! Our train doesn't leave for Munich until 10:15 tonight! So crazy.

So anyway, our tour yesterday was AWESOME!!!! We saw all the main famous sites, which was great because Berlin is such a huge city and everything is spread out here. We started at the Brandenburg Gate, then walked through it onto the eastern section of Berlin. (From there we could see the Reichstag). I had never really known all the history of the wall.....but it was actually a wall that encircled West Berlin (yes, it encircled the free portion). Today there are inlaid cobblestones among the streets and the occasional plaque which shows where the wall stood. It was hard for me to really get my mind around the enormity of what has occurred in this city. From WWII and up to the Cold War.....not to mention numerous events before, after and in between the two!

From the Brandenburg Gate, our tour took us along the Eastern edge of the Tiergarten to the Holocaust memorial (look up a picture! It is very abstract, but very humbling at the same time. From there we walked to the site where Hitler's bunker had been. Nothing of it remains today, only a small sign to note the site.

From there we saw the site of the former SS headquarters and then the section of the wall which is still standing. It is not spectacular to see now, however just imagining the speed with which they put it up (the entire wall was standing within 56 hours), it really is an amazing feat.

We then went on to Checkpoint Charlie, which was very interesting to me specifically. There is a museum there, which I did not go into, but there are also posters/boards lining the sidewalks...all with information about the timeline of events there.

After a short break we continued on to the gendarmenmarkt....a French square in the middle of Berlin! There was a German Lutheran church on one end of the plaza and a French Hugoenaut church on the other! It was incredibly beautiful!

We then went on to Humpboldt University to see the square where the burning of 20,000 books by the Nazi's took place. The memorial to it is a glass square where you can look down beneath the square and see empty bookshelves. Very moving.

We then ended the tour on Museumsinsel (Museums Island) in the Lustgarten. The name made me laugh.

Today I went back to the Pergamon Museum which everyone had told me I must not miss while I am here. The museum looked enormous from the outside, however was only about 4 galleries on the inside....not cool.

However, I did get to see the Pergamon Alter, which was an ancient greek alter, either to Zeus or Athena....it is reconstructed inside the musum, with much of the original frieze sculpture surrounding it. Look it up! Its worth knowing more of the story, for sure!

The other main attraction in the museum is the Gates of Babylon (Ishtar Tor). Though it is slightly misleading since they only have a few of the original bricks (which are colored a bright blue) and the portion which is reconstructed is only a small side gate. Which is still incredibly enormous! It was amazing to see this though!

Since the museum did not take nearly as long as I had hoped or planned, I ended up wandering a bit more today. Which brings us up to now, where I am just killing some time online while I wait for Katherine so we can get to the train station!

Tomorrow I will be in Munich!!

Love you all!!

1 comment:

Jolynn said...

Alison - amazing stuff! This will certainly bring history alive for you. You were just a baby when the Berlin Wall came down, but it is a marking point for many people. I often think of things in the sense of before or after the wall. What a fabulous trip!

Jolynn