Our Europe Trip: Berlin Part 2

Day 7: Berlin

Saturday morning, we jumped on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour that started in Alexander Platz. This is where the big TV Tower is (that I didn’t know existed until we went there). One of the coolest parts of the tour was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It’s kind of hard to describe; it was about a city block of cement pillars of different heights. You get lost almost immediately once the pillars are over your head and all you see are people briefly as they walk from pillar to pillar as if they’re ghosts, which was the point. Underneath the monument, there was a museum with statistics, journal entries, and family stories of Jewish victims from WWII. It wasn’t as moving as I thought it would be, but it was still cool.

It was interesting to hear different pieces of the same history we’d heard in both London and Paris. For example, German princes held Versailles for a few months. That was definitely not mentioned in our Versailles tour. Then there were all these stories of different countries stealing monuments after war victories and then the original owner stealing them back after another war. Things were being stolen all over the place, including monuments that are now in Venice (the four bronze horses on St. Mark’s Cathedral).

Our other main stop on the bus tour was Checkpoint Charlie. We didn’t plan our tour very well and the actual museum was closed by the time we got there. Lame. But the whole time, I wished I had research the Berlin Wall and WWII more before our trip. There are so many layers to Berlin’s history and I kept getting them mixed up. And so much its history is dark and sad. That city has been through a lot and it’s miraculously still kickin’.

After our tour, we went to a laundromat to undo the damage of our kitchen sink laundry fiasco. It wasn’t a very wild Saturday night in Berlin, but at least we had clean undies.

After laundry, we went to dinner near our hotel/hostel. It was very German. Everything tasted a little off, especially the water. But it was a fun cultural experience trying to understand a German menu. I think that was the hardest part for me. No German words looked familiar (let’s be serious, those words are just too long) and our waitress seemed to be the only Berliner who wasn’t fluent in English. Doug kept trying to convince me that German is super close to English, but I don’t believe it.

Oh, and the weather was totally perfect in Berlin; blue skies all day and a light-jacket weather at night.