Berlin GermanyMay 31 in Germany ⋅ 🌫 20 °C
We knew we had a full agenda when booking our Viking cruise and today's 13 hr tour starting at 6.15am was no exception. The ship docked at Warnemunde Germany where we joined our guide Lars for a 2.5 hr train ride to Berlin. En rte we met another couple Lori and Randy who joined us for the day. An included bus tour of Berlin provided highlights and orientation to the history and famous sites. Germany pop 89 mill. Berlin 6 mill on the Spree river. In 1933 Russia conquered the country. Hitler and the reich ruled during the war ending in 1945.
Since the fall of the Berlin wall sweeping transformation of architectural and cultural modernization has emerged. The Berlin wall divided the city during the cold war from August 1961 to 1989 for 96 miles. The wall was guarded by 16000 snipers where many lost their lives trying to cross the 70 foot death zone to escape
Our guide an east Berliner told us about life in east Berlin where for 50 yrs they were separated from the rest of the world by the Berlin Wall. They could see across to the freedom of the west, had to attend oppressive schools fed by the communist regime and listen to English music and tv while dreaming to live on the other side. He took us to the Brandenburg Gate..an emotional site for Berliners. Growing up they knew if they could walk through the gate..it means freedom. The gate originally built in 1791 has been refurbished removing tons of bullets...it is the site where Ronald Reagan said to Gorbachev if you want peace bring down the wall..within two yrs it was down... Peter Jennings Cdn led the commentary the night the wall came down.
Breznev of Russia and Honniker Germany signed the treaty of German reunification the following yr.
We saw Checkpoint Charlie, one of 6 points where people could go in and out of east and west side for specific reasons.
The historic centre of Berlin has been rebuilt using vacant land where the wall and army were. Some of the new buildings include the State library, the Opera house the most modern in Europe, the Einstein centre and the State library replacing one where all books were burned by communists in 60s, the new glass parliament known as the Reichstag and we viewed the historic one where russian flag claimed victory in 1933 and where later Hitler and germans signed unconditional surrender in 1945 and his ultimate suicide.
Visiting the holocast memorial was very sobering. Thousands of people viewing the wall and historical artifacts in silence. The horrors of the slaughter of so many is difficult to see.Read more