A Travellerspoint blog

Day Eight - Berlin Wall

sunny 9 °C
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Woke to sad news that my Uncle Bobby (Dad's younger brother) had passed away in Margaret River - spoke to Mum who was pretty upset - the biggest downside of getting older, losing those you love. Went to St Hedwig Cathedral to light a candle & say a prayer for him & other loved ones lost.

Skyped the boys to find out what they are up to & to ensure the house was still standing.

Today we caught quite a number of trains & walked numerous stairs - giving my knees a good workout. First stop was East Side Gallery (graffiti Berlin Wall) - an amazing spectical of graffiti art along a huge section of the wall - Ian took numerous photo's (refer to our photo's). We walked along this for quite a while & then stopped for lunch along the Spree River. It was so cold when out of the sun, I had heaps of layers on & still froze.

From here we caught more trains & headed to Bernauer Strasse (Berlin Wall Monument). This gives you a clear layout of the two walls erected & the lengths East Berlin went to, to stop people trying to get to West Berlin. It clearly shows the walls, sentry tower, lights & signal barriers - they also buried iron type spikes in the ground, so if they jumped off the wall they would be injured & not able to continue. The garden area shows how the walls were erected through a cementary & describes how they don't think all the bodies had been removed - they have erected a few crosses for these people.

We then ventured back to Brandenburger Tor (Gateway) & walked back to Alexander Platz & headed home for a break.

Headed out for dinner at a nearby pub to try German schnitzel $ then caught a train back into the city to view more sites with the Festival of Lights - amazing seeing so many people out so late on a Sunday night.

Posted by pitchersontour 08:59 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Day Seven - Jewish Museum & Topography of Terror

sunny 9 °C
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Happy 25th to Josh - got to chat with him on the phone. The three boys caught up for take away at our house - using our credit card of course!!

Our first sunny day in Berlin - although it was still only a maximum of 9 degrees. I need to get to a shop to buy some more warm clothes - a good excuse to. We are heading to Prague next and the weather is much the same.

We didnt venture out till around 10.30am today (late for us) & headed to the Jewish Museum - this has the whole history of Jewish people, not just WW2 - we spent about three hours wondering through. From here we walked to the Topography of Terror - this has the whole history on the rise & fall of Hitler - another good three hours spent reading & looking at photo's, news atticles etc. So much to take in and so much hard to believe it actually happened.

We got home around 7.30pm exhausted and were in bed by 9pm (see we are old!!)

Posted by pitchersontour 00:47 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day Six - Touring Berlin

overcast 10 °C
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Another cold day in Berlin, really did not pack for this weather!! Headed into the city & went on a 4.5hr bike tour with The Fat Tire Company - another great guide whose knowledge on German history was impressive. Stopped for lunch at a beer garden cafe in the Tiergarten (massive garden in the middle of the city, 2nd largest in Europe) - we all enjoyed the warmth inside.

We were both a little naive when going around, you forget that 90% of Berlin was destroyed during the war & hence a lot of historic buildings destroyed. Berlin are re-building everywhere & trying to re-construct the buildings as they were, even burning the stone to make them look old. We stood on the bunker where Hitler committed suicide, saw a sentry tower where soldiers shot to kill anyone trying to escape over the wall & walked around the Jewish Holocaust Memorial (see photo). Saw where 20,000 books were collected & set on fire, by order of Hitler - even the theories of Einstein (who only a few months earlier was teaching at the University) were to be destroyed & not believed.

Ventured back into the city at 8pm to view the first night of the 'Festival of Lights' - huge numbers of people walking around & a real festive feeling. Ian got some great shots of one of the sites (see photo's).

Posted by pitchersontour 00:18 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day Five arriving in Berlin

rain 9 °C
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Felt like a long day today. We farewelled Amsterdam & flew to Berlin where we will stay for five nights. We left our hotel in. Amsterdam at 9am & arrived at our apartment in Berlin at 4.00pm.

Got a fright at customs leaving Amsterdam as Ian was searched & had to answer numerous questions about who packed his bag. was it unattended at any stage etc - we were starting to think someone must have put something in there. Ian was trying to tell them he had medication in the bag like epi pens that he has to inject himself with each week & they are with ice coolers as they have to be kept cold. After quite some time & many people involved they allowed us through.

Completely different arriving in Berlin, tiny airport, no customs - just get your luggage & go.

Our apartment is great, nice location & self contained, so cooking dinner ourselves tonight with a bottle of merlot. Weather is a bit colder than expected (9 degrees) & has been raining. Looking forward to exploring tomorrow.

Posted by pitchersontour 09:53 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day Four - Anne Frank House, Den Haag (The Hague)

overcast 17 °C
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Headed out just before 8.30am to walk to Anne Frank's house, got there at 8.45am with quite a queue already. Got in at 9.30am so not too long to wait, the queue continually got longer. What a powerful, inspiring & sad tour this was - really hard to comprehend how eight people lived here, in hiding for two years, only to be turned in by an unknown person. What strength her father had to release her diaries & set up the house as a museum. A must do for all if in Amsterdam.

From here we caught a train to Den Haag (The Hague) to catch up with our friend Maartje (played at TEM in 2010). She was a fab guide & took us all around the city centre, her new home & then caught a tram to the beach. Her partner Rolph was at work so we missed catching up with him. Their home is amazing, a former shop that they have just finished renovating, right in the heart of the city, with a large back yard for a place located here.

The Netherland's Government & King's Palace are all located in The Hague. This is another beautiful place to visit, not as many tourists as in Amsterdam. The beach located in Scheveningen has a massive boulevard filled with restaurants & casino's. Maartje says in summer the beaches are really crowded.

She has just moved to a new hockey club & they have 26 women's teams & 24 men's teams - unbelievable. Also for young kids, you have to put their names on a list when they are 2yo to commence at 6yo - otherwise they will not get in - how nice would that be to get new recruits??

Thanks Maartje, another great day for us xx

Posted by pitchersontour 23:12 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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