Today, went on a free walking tour with Lynley around the main sites. On the way there we saw a Ampleman store. The pedestrian crossing lights here have funny Stop and Go men. They were apparently from the communist days so their poses are slightly military-like.
The tour covered:
- The Brandenburg Gate (rebuilt after the war)
- The Reichstag (where Hitler commanded the war from)
- Pariser Platz
- The Topography of Terror (part of the Berlin Wall)
- Hitlers Bunker (demolished now but a tourist sign still stands... they didn't want a place where neo-nazis could make pilgrimages to)
- Holocaust Memorial (awesome place.. architecturally designed)
- Book Burning Memorial (20,000 books were burnt that were not 'german' enough)
- Checkpoint Charlie
- Potsdamer Platz (Business district)
- SS Headquarters
- Luftwaffe Headquarters
- Museum Island with the Berliner Dom
- TV Tower
Again, this tour was by New Europe so got to hear all the history in detail which was good. Very sad that after the war finished, and everything the Germans had been through, there was the cold war with the communists putting up the Berlin Wall .
After the tour, Me and Lynley went back to the Holocaust Memorial and took some photos, the place is built with what looks like tombstones but they are not. There are no words either that say this is a memorial. It was the architects wish that the holocaust should be remembered as an everyday thing and not something 'special', that it should be part of the everyday life of the Germans. We then went to the museum below which has a history on the war as well as backgrounds and memorials for some families and people affected by the war.
Then we went up into the dome over the Reichstag. This is now the government building for the country and the dome was built in a way that it overlooks the debating chambers. In a way it serves as a reminder for the politicians when they work and make decisions, they can look up and see the people of the nation looking down on them.
After that we walked to the Wall Monument, which has a bit of the wall from both West and East Berlin left. There were 2 walls, one for the east and one for the west and in between was the Death Strip, and the Wall Monument was one of the places you could see both still standing. We sort of walked to the wrong place as well and there were these headstones that had been unearthed as well and all lay in a heap which was a bit scary. These were from people who had died in the 80's though.
With our legs absolutely tired, we went to a Vietnamese restaurant called Monsieur Vuong for dinner. Its recommended in the Lonely Planet and it was very very good. Yummy.
Thinking of going on a trip out of Berlin tomorrow to Potsdam. Potsdam is to Berlin what Versailles is to Paris. It was the city of the German Kaisers/Prussian Kings however it was stuck behind the Iron Curtain and on the communist side of Berlin Wall. It was also undamaged during the war so should be good.