We arrived in Berlin on Easter Sunday, after a long train ride from Amsterdam. It was a nice train, and we got to experience first class seats, and met a very nice German couple from Hannover, who shared our compartment with us. Our close friend Jula, met us at the Berlin Spandau train station as she was graciously letting us stay at her apartment for the week. She guided us to her apartment, showed us the basics and left us to settle in. The first day in Berlin, we headed into town on the S3 S-Bahn train and transfered to the U-Bahn to go to Alexanderplatz and catch a Hop on / Hop off bus to explore and get our bearings around this huge city!
The tour was great and gave us a good sense of where things were and what we wanted to check out next. We spent a bit of time at Checkpoint Charlie, and the Jewish Holocaust Memorial, before heading back and doing a little grocery shopping for the week. It was a good day to start our adventures and plan out the rest of our week.
We expored the East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall that is still standing that is covered with powerful murals and art depicting the time when Berlin, and Germany, was divided. It was an amazing experience and showcased the many ways, forms and messages that art can provide about this difficult division. We also explored the Science and Technology museum, a highlight for all its displays, information and collection, especially the giant boats, planes and trains from throughout German modern history.
We also got to enjoy a few delicious meals out and lots of amazing coffee. Jula took us to a fancy Sushi restauraunt (Sushi is fun!) and a traditional Schnitzel place (SchnitzelSei) that prepared one of the best Schnitzels I’ve ever had. We also really enjoyed her coffee from Nano Coffee, a wonderful coffee shop she works with that is super delicious! A highlight for us was the chance to go outside of the city and visit with her family, where we took a 100 year old tram through the forest to her Grandparents place, where we had a very pleasant walk and visit and got to know her Oma and Opa.
We also had the opportunity to visit the DDR Musuem, an engaging look at life in East Germany during the division. It was fascinating to learn about the jobs, people, homes, schools, products, government and challenges during this time, and how everyone lived when the Russians controlled this half of Germany. Seeing this, exploring the east side of Berlin and talking with Jula’s family provided us with a lot more knowledge and understanding of what life was like then and we greatly appreciated that opportunity.
Our week was not long enough! We got to see one more museum before we left, the Jewish History, Culture and Holocaust museum and it was another powerful opportunity for us to learn more about their struggles, challenges and people in Germany from the middle ages until present day. The museum, from its architecture, to its displays was very emotionally evocative and incredible engaging, allowing us to learn more about what trauma and persecution they experienced. It is highly recommended for any visitor.
Below is our video from this week, with some of our experiences, meals, sights and learning. Below that is a link to some more pictures if you would like to see more of our time. We are currently in Dresden now, and enjoying all the Steam trains, Boats, Castles and Fortresses as well as visiting with my family.
Pictures from Berlin: https://photos.app.goo.gl/MHF9NMCNCpPyHYZz6