Walking Berlin, Germany

I don’t even recall the name of the port where we docked. It was near enough to Berlin to take a bus to a train to a bus to the center of the city. Berlin was a place I couldn’t miss, regardless how much time it took to get there from the cruise ship. So much of the world history that happened in my life -or just before- happened in Berlin.

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I remember my aunt, stationed in Germany with the US army before reunification, talking about the divide between east and west Berlin. Today, we are welcomed to the city as a whole. Here, Berliner Fernsehturm, the television tower in what was the eastern section of the city.

The fraternal twin cities of Berlin East and West walked right out of my history book and challenged me to come and take a look.Β I wasn’t prepared for the view. I don’t know quite what I expected. But what I found was remarkable: a city with a vibrant atmosphere, unafraid of taking on its past, marking its history with informative sites.

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I remember seeing this speech, by President Reagan, on the television news, never thinking I would stand next to the plaque that commemorates it on a street in Berlin.

Berlin seemed to allow history to speak its own story; enormous passion and complete misery shown in the words of the people who experienced it. We spent a large portion of our visit walking the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Berlin Wall Memorial reading the experiences from letters, newspaper accounts and business and personal documents retrieved and photocopied. First-person detail can be the most moving and the most frightening. Both were presented.

The city also seemed to be briskly taking on the future. I left with a respect for the people of Berlin, and a wish that we would all acknowledge our past, have hope for the future, then get on with things, the way they seem to be doing.

There is something about standing on a spot of history. My words are weak in describing that feeling, a blessed benefit of being able to travel. Thank you, Berlin.

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Checkpoint Charlie and McDonald’s – certainly not what I expected πŸ™‚ Β  Β  Next up – Copenhagen.

Stop by Restless Jo’s Monday Walks for more…

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21 thoughts on “Walking Berlin, Germany

  1. Berlin is one of those cities I’ve always felt ambiguous about seeing. I’m not at all sure what my expectations would be. You mirror that a little, and I like your take on the place and the people. Thank you very much for your continued support. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I have the feeling that we would get along very well.

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    1. RJo – I did not expect to like the visit to Berlin, but I remember my aunt’s stories about her time in Germany, and knew Berlin was an important place. I really wouldn’t have traded Berlin for one of those delightful, scenic German villages. (I got delightful and scenic walking around Tallinn and Helsinki!) (:) πŸ™‚ me, too)

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  2. I would not have put Berlin on the list, but it must have been amazing to see the personal accounts of those two major historical events. I can imagine myself being immersed in reading their stories. Love the photo of the bubbles!
    Alison

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    1. Hi Janis – Belly-laughing. It was quite a combination, US army in Germany next to MacD’s. It’s actually now a tourist replica of the real Checkpoint Charlie (for ‘C’ – there were also ‘A’ and ‘B’) that regulated passage between east and west Berlin. Allied forces manned it during the ‘cold war’ times. I was happy for the McDonald’s because the bathroom was convenient and excellent πŸ™‚

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  3. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : South Shields to Souter | restlessjo

  4. Susan, a few years ago Terri and I rented an apartment and spent 3 months in Berlin. It was summer, the weather was wonderful, and our time there gave us an opportunity to really dig into and absorb the city’s rich and complex past. There are certainly no shortage of museums and sites detailing WWII events, both courageous and horrid. But, we enjoyed most were long walks around different neighborhoods all over the city as well as the world-class antiquities museums, that for so long, were behind the Iron Curtain. It’s a wonderful city, and will always be one of our favorites. ~James

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    1. James – I am so glad to hear of your adventure (perhaps I can search Gallivance for the writing version?) Our visit was just a long day, and I must say the soles of my shoes said we covered a lot of territory, but I could tell there was so much more to see and experience. What a complete surprise πŸ™‚

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  5. It may have been a small walk Susan, but you covered some huge moments in recent history. I especially applaud Germany’s openness about its past and the lessons other countries can take to heart and worry about the rise of “Nationalism” in the US and elsewhere. The current refugee crisis has many parallels to prewar Nazi Germany and Angela Merkel’s open door policy for today’s refugees reflects compassion and maybe even a step towards making amends for Germany’s past. We’re looking forward to spending several days in Berlin as well as traveling throughout Germany. Here’s where I say my mantra, “So many countries, so little time!” Anita

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    1. I am so happy to hear you,ll have a chance to visit Berlin. Perhaps you,ve already been and this is a return trip? If not, I know you will appreciate the thoughtful monuments to a troubling time (wish more of our citizens could have a chance to do the same)πŸ˜‰

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