I clearly remember as a young girl when President Kennedy said “Ich bin ein Berliner”(I am a Berliner) those famous words from his 1963 speech on his trip to Berlin, two years after the Berlin Wall had been erected.
To get to Berlin we had to travel 3.5 hours from the Port of Warnemunde. We chose a specific excursion titled “Berlin Past and Present”, which featured a motor coach equipped with flat-screen TVs, so we could view videos and photos which allowed us to do a past versus present comparison, of the changes that have occurred in Berlin over the last 80 years. The guides were extremely polite but friendly, had a lot of energy, enjoyed giving the tours and had a massive amount of knowledge to share. The best eight-hour excursion I have ever experienced!
Two highlights of the tour for me was Checkpoint Charlie and seeing where the Berlin Wall once stood, and secondly the Brandenburg Gate. One oddity that we encountered was the many tourist traps at the Brandenburg Gate. I expected to find a peaceful and respectful environment, but our senses were given quite a jolt when we had to walk through many statue-like mimes who were there to make money from the tourists. It seemed a bit sad that such an impressive historical monument had been relegated to a money-making place for mimes and street performers dressed in exotic costumes. But I looked past all that and enjoyed walking under the victory arch and imagined following the important footsteps of previous military and political figures.
Photos from Berlin:
These steel “welts” in the road are the only real remnants of the Berlin Wall where it officially stood.
Berlin Wall Memorial – pieces of the wall were retained and used as a memorial
Checkpoint Charlie – notice the McDonald’s to the right of the booth?
Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
Fourth of July celebration back on the ship that night
Ending the evening on a sweet note!
I visited Berlin in 1966. Stood on the wall and looked over at East Berlin. What a stark difference it was back then. It was like looking from the technicolor world of West Berlin into a black and white world. I remember seeing just one forlorn woman walking her child on the street….no one else within sight.
Also, at another place along the wall were East German guards peering out of the upper windows of buildings that actually formed part of the wall. Of course, the lower windows were bricked up.
While there we attended a large dinner during which an official of the “Berlin United” movement spoke and told us they would not rest until it was one city again. Twenty-three years later….voila!
Very interesting post and one that brought the memories flooding back.
How interesting that you were there when the wall was actually in place. I have seen so many black/white photos of those early days and it always looked so bleak on the “other side”. Am curious, were you afraid when you stood on the wall and peered over? Did you fear retribution from the guards?
A little uneasy maybe but it was a station built specifically for the view and there were American guards at that point.
I visited Berlin in 1991 not all that long after the Wall came down. The two halves were yet far from being made whole again. This post shows just how far that city has come and makes me want to return to see for myself. Thanks for sharing.
It has indeed!
Great dessert plate!
sweet treats look good 🙂 What a trip.