I loved Berlin! It’s such an interesting place with something for everyone. I’m far from a history nut but I found that so far, Berlin has the most interesting history.
On the first day we went up the TV Tower. It was interesting to see the divide in architecture from above, with one part looking older and communist and the other more modern. After that we walked to the Brandenburg Gate then through Tiergarten. Also throughout the city are bricks showing where the Berlin Wall stood which was peculiar to see, especially when buildings and tram lines overlap it. It really shows just how divisive the wall was.
Once we had walked through Tiergarten, we got to the Tower of Victory. It was dusk when we got there so the climb and views were really pretty, especially over Tiergarten.
The next day we went on a tour through Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Although we basically spent the whole day there, we definitely could have used more time. Our guide was great. He was really informative and answered everyone’s questions. It was great to have such a knowledgable person guide us through such an important and interesting part of history. The tour ended with us entering where the people at the camp were shot and gassed as well as the morgue where there are still surgical tables. Eerie stuff.
After the tour we were shown old money and stamps that were used around that time. The guide then recommended some markets near where we were staying for me to buy stamps since my grandad collects them.
The market was so cool! There were so many old stamps, currencies and general trinkets. The further down the market we went, the more modern it became, ending with artworks. I bought a small stamp collection for my grandad and Hayden bought himself an engraved pewter cup. There was so much there, it would have been very easy to get carried away if we didn’t have to carry all the stuff around with us for the rest of our trip.
The next day we went to Checkpoint Charlie on the way to the Topography of Terror and spent hours there. If you’re thinking of going there and genuinely want to read as much as you can, leave a good chunk of your day for it. There was so much information there, including that of other countries that also held concentration camps. The most interesting stuff I found was the comparison of the factual events and stories from the camps to the propaganda images used in reports and newspapers. It’s terrible knowing that the people in the camps were freezing and starving yet portrayed wearing coats and of adequate health.
Outside the Topography of Terror is part of the wall so we walked along it then to the Jewish Memorial. I have heard different reasons behind the design of the memorial but can’t seem to find any definite reasoning. For those who haven’t seen the memorial or any pictures (there’ll be one in my gallery), it’s basically columns that vary in height and go from low to high. I’ve heard that it’s to show the rise of the death toll but also that when you walk through it and it rises, you lose your senses. There’s barely enough room for people to walk side by side and you can’t see what’s coming on your side or what’s behind you. This is said to represent how lost those in the camps would have felt and how trapped and confused they also would have been. Now that I’ve been to the memorial and walked through it, I can understand both of those theories.
On our final day, Mitch and I went to the Eastside Gallery and had a picnic along the canal. The art on that part of the Berlin Wall is so well done and really interesting to compare with the artists coming from different places.
I learnt a lot in my time at Berlin and loved the ease of finding stuff to do. I definitely recommend it, especially to those interested in or curious about World War II.