Due to some train troubles, I arrived in Berlin about nine hours later than I expected. Because of this, I wasn’t able to explore the city as much as I would have liked. I still had an unforgettable time!
Friday morning, after a breakfast of streusel, I headed out to the DDR Museum. It was a very entertaining way to learn about life in East Germany! In keeping with the Cold War theme, I then took a stroll along the East Side Gallery, a series of murals on the remains of the Berlin Wall. I spotted the famous mural of Brezhnev and Honecker kissing, but was not able to get a good picture because of the sun
Next, I headed back to the center of the city. I saw the outside of the Reichstag building, but I did not want to go in because there appeared to be a long line with metal detectors involved. I then took a moment to visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
Besides the striking design, what stood out to me about this memorial was how honest and unmissable it is. The structure takes up almost an entire city block near Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag building, two of Berlin’s most popular tourist attractions. It is not intended to be a memorial for World War II, nor to the Third Reich as some abstraction, but to the actual Jewish lives lost. Visiting the memorial was a sobering experience, but it was interesting to see how Germany confronts its past atrocities at least in one context.
My next stop was the Brandenburg Gate, pictured at the beginning of this post. The gate marks the start of Unter den Linden, a stretch of historical buildings. I had a lot of fun walking down Unter Den Linden and admiring the architecture. The biggest surprise was seeing the hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his baby out of the window!
One thing I wish I had more time to experience is Berlin’s world-renowned nightlife. I briefly stopped in a nice bar after dinner but did not stay for long; I wanted to be well-rested for my journey the next day. I also wish I could have engaged more with the city’s history. Overall, however, I am very satisfied with my trip!