Between train strikes (we just had the 9th in 10 months) we made a quick weekend trip to Berlin and Potsdam.I hadn't been to Berlin since 1992, and that was just a visit of a few hours, and it is a dramatically different city! We stayed in the former East Berlin near Checkpoint Charlie, but you'd be hard-pressed now to identify where the wall was.In some places these plaques mark the spot.
|The Ampelmann is a symbol of Berlin - you see it everywhere, even on the pedestrian crossings.|
Berlin has great museums, including the Pergamon Museum on Museum Island. Half of it was closed for renovation, but there was still plenty to see. This is part of the Ishtar gate from Babylon. I always have mixed feelings about treasures taken from other lands, but I will admit to being glad to see some treasures from Syria, like the paneled room, preserved.
Naturally we also saw some of the landmarks of Berlin, including the Brandenburg Gate.
The museum of East Germany was really interesting for Wayne and for me - not so much for Gail. Luckily they had a Trabant simulated driving experience set up, which made it fun. We passed on the Trabant tours of Berlin - you can actually do a driving tour of Berlin in a Trabant. Driving one feels sort of like driving a car in an amusement park. Here are some Trabant jokes.
In Berlin there are multiple Holocaust memorials, each dedicated to a different group of victims. The one to Jewish victims is the largest. On approach it looks like a graveyard, but it is deceptive. As you walk into the site the level of the sidewalks drops until the stones are towering over you, some at angles. It is very disorienting.Under the memorial is a museum. It's not very large, but it is very moving.
And on a lighter note, I loved this Ritter Sport (a popular chocolate bar) advertisement in the train station.