It's taken me a little time to really find the right words to sum all that we saw while in and around Berlin, but here goes.
I'll start with the easy one. Last night was a lot of fun. After the delicious dinner of beer and Subway, Jill and I went on a pub crawl with a great group of people. We met people from Australia, Moscow, Brazil, and... Guelph. Yes, that's right. Guelph. We went from place to place enjoying Germany's finest beers and free jaggermeister. It was an awesome wrap up to our time in Berlin, and a great way to celebrate turning 29.
The day was not so easy, but a day that everyone should experience.
We took a tour of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. It's fairly barren now - little more than a wide open field, with a few buildings that have survived the years - but the displays and exhibits gave very clear and frightening images of what conditions would have been like during its operation. Though the images and artifacts were right in front of us, it was still difficult to imagine that at one time it was all too real. I could go on with statistics and descriptions, but they're difficult to write and won't do justice to the actual experience. We're glad we did it, and won't ever forget it - and in the end, I think that's the most important thing.
As Jill mentioned yesterday, our walking tour of Berlin was fantastic. The architecture in the city is incredibly diverse, though to this day some is still undergoing repair from the war.
At various sites around the city the wall is still present. Most areas where it still exists are small museums or monuments to the time it represents and the people who lost their lives trying to escape east Berlin. It's so strange to think that well within our lifetime, that wall separated families and friends, and caused people to risk their lives to escape communist rule. I personally often forget about the fact that although the war ended for the rest of the world in 1945, it really didn't end for Berlin. 150 people - that were reported - died trying to escape into West Berlin. And another interesting tidbit we picked up is that the order to bring the wall down - the original one - was essentially an accident. It's an interesting story, and I suggest you Google it :-)
Berlin is a city that will never forget it's past, and doesn't want to, and it challenges everyone to do the same. I know we won't forget our short time in this beautiful city.
Oh yeah - and U2 was there. :-)
We just got on our connecting train to Salzburg in Munich and will be departing soon. I look forward to seeing the city that inspired one of the greatest musical minds in history.
We'll check back in with you all in a minuet :-)
Thanks for reading!