Berlin, Germany

BERLIN

A full day tour took us through the highlights of Berlin’s turbulent past.

Our day in Berlin was spent on an all-day motor coach tour bus driving around the city with occasional stops to photograph highlights. The tour started with a 3 hour drive from our docked ship to the city of Berlin. We thought the drive through the German countryside would afford us views of scenic landscapes. Unfortunately, the drive was through pure farmland, much too reminiscent of Illinois with the exception of the occasional windmill. Yep, more windmills, all over the countryside.

Berlin itself was not what we had expected. The city was vibrant, international, clean, historical beyond measure and filled with beautiful architecture and sculpture. Knowing only Berlin’s past doesn’t really prepare you for its post-war development and vibrance. We both got our share of whiplash trying to take everything in and realized Berlin is a city to visit again.

Our tour guide on the bus knew so much about the city’s history, and it seemed, every building we passed. He provided volumes of textbook worthy information regarding historical events, names and more to give us a full understanding of what we were observing. We were enthralled.

The notable highlights of the tour included Checkpoint Charlie, sections of the Berlin wall, Brandenburg gate and several parliamentary buildings. Between these major sightings, we saw a cityscape filled with the ornate buildings of history past and new architecture as a result of reunification.

The path of the Berlin wall was inscribed in the city streets through the inlay of a double row of cobblestone. This 2-track path traced the wall’s original standing place throughout the city. One location in particular took us to the Brandenburg gate, the entrance to the city and not far from the location where 1 million plus people first congregated to protest the DDR government on October 4, 1989. The wall began to fall…

- Albert