We’re wrapping up the Austria-Germany trip with the final leg in Berlin (although I have a couple more blogs to post on other cool topics soon)
We drove in to Berlin from Erfurt where we spent one night. Along the drive we saw numerous castles on distant hills. If we hadn’t already been surrounded with so much history, it would have been a good reminder of how old this place is that we were visiting!
And everywhere we went, there was alternative energy - either windmills or solar panels.
Berlin is a BIG city with all of the things that a big city brings: diversity, traffic, crowds, art, music, food and history.
We had an amazing view from our AirBnB. An apartment tower right at the western edge of the Tiergarten (basically, Berlin’s Central Park.) Our 14th floor flat had a balcony that provided us with amazing views!
We headed off to Charlottenburg Palace to see how the other half lived back in the day - quite well, I’d say! This palace was bombed (like much of Berlin) during the war, but has been reconstructed to its former glory.
And this, like the skeletons we found in several cathedrals was quite creepy. It was part of a serving set on display in the palace…
We then headed north to a tiny town called Neuglobsow which is where Melissa’s colleagues Jens and Stella are at a scientific facility. It was great to see some friends and learn about the work they’re doing.
Jens and Stella use these devices called mesocosms which enable them to study specific conditions within a water column. We took the boat and checked them out!
The last thing we did was to get a tour of Berlin. We learned a ton about the history of the city, how the Nazis came to power and how the Soviets destroyed virtually all remnants of the Nazi machine during their occupation.
This monument (left) lists the names of members of parliament who Hitler murdered or sent to work camps. As a way to grab power, an agent burned the Reichstag (above) and blamed the communists. In order to “protect the country,” Hitler dissolved parliament and consolidated his power. Many members of parliament fought him and were murdered or sent away to work camps and never seen again.
The Reichstag was rebuilt and in 1992, they added the glass dome as a way to show the importance of transparency. When visitors walk around the dome, they can look down onto the German Parliament.
We learned how unbelievably fast the political system changed in Germany and what a warning it is to the rest of the world to guard against leaders who threaten freedom!
Our tour continued to the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It was a very unique monument, but, I think, very effective as you walk through it. Just looking from the outside, I can see how people might be turned off or confused by it. But entering it’s depths, one gets the feelings that the artist intended to evoke.
We walked to another dark part of Berlin to visit some remnants of the Berlin Wall. Our guide told us about its history, some of the first people who were killed trying to cross into freedom and the futility of trying to wall people in (or wall them out)
There’s only one original Nazi government building left in Berlin, the former Ministry of Aviation. They still have the propaganda wall showing all of the happy Aryans living and working together…
We headed out for our final (unhealthy) German meal and some local beer on our last night in town.
What a trip! Three weeks was tough, and in retrospect, we probably would have done a few things differently. But overall, we had a great time, learned a lot, saw amazing things and enjoyed being together adventuring!
Stay tuned for a couple more Germany blogs related to ancestry!!!
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