Tuesday 26th July, 2022
A brief trot out to find a local breakfast in a bakery then it was onto the 100 bus to Brandenburg Tor. The bus was busy with standing room only. There was time to buy some postcards before heading to the meeting point for the walking tour.
This was a slightly shorter tour than the one in Brussels but very entertaining and interesting nonetheless. The main focus was on WWII and the Cold War, and of course the Berlin Wall - construction and destruction. The Brandenburg Gate is such an important site for Berlin, from the defeat of Napoleon to the reopening of the border between East and West Berlin in 1989.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is imposing in many ways - 2711 concrete blocks of differing heights arranged in ordered rows. The ground rises and falls and so walking through the "maze" is interesting - one can feel quite alone standing at a "crossroads" and unable to see anyone else. There is (deliberately) no real explanation as to the meaning of the memorial - it is for you to find your own.
We finished at Checkpoint Charlie and I cannot be the only "older" person to be fascinated by this icon! Movies and TV series about Cold War spies loomed large in my youth! I hadn't realised just quite how close to a disaster there was when Russian and US tanks faced off in 1961. Crisis averted, luckily.
The rest of the day was spent at the keyboard (after finding some currywurst for lunch) and then in the late afternoon a trip to KaDeWe - I guess you might call it the Harrods of Berlin! Nothing was purchased! And then a last dinner at Reinhard's on the Kurfurstendamm.
I've enjoyed my short stay in Berlin - I am glad I managed to fit it in, it had looked as though it might have to wait until after the summer. Now it's time to pack for the last time (on this trip) and head back to Scotland.