Costly Mistake!! Book train tickets early!!
Too bad we had not seen that headline before we wandered into the Mainz station for our train ticket to Berlin. Buying tickets a few days earlier would have been less than 1/2 price. As it was our only way to reduce the fare was a ticket for a 10 hour trip with 7 platform changes instead of 4 hours and 1 platform change. Seemed like a large price to pay so we choose ignorance and money over ignorance and stress.
We managed the 1.5 km. walk from the Berlin station to our Airbnb in a light drizzle and heavy reliance on the phone app ‘Maps.Me’. In the typical convoluted gymnastics of accessing big city Airbnb places we stopped at a restaurant and picked up a sealed envelope with Cathy’s name and a set of keys. We then found our address close by and sure enough the key allowed entry to a dark hallway and stairs that demanded we continue to use peddling muscles.
Once up to the 5th. floor a small note welcomed us and another key opened the door to our studio apartment. The prize for our efforts is a very cute vaulted ceiling spot with windows that reveal a delightful view of Berlin.
Clouds lifted and sun began streaming in as we woke this morning. A small patio on top of the world reveled a wealth of angled roof structures, 15 building cranes, domes and the ever adaptable House Sparrow.
Cathy arranged a WWII tour through Airbnb. Sylvia turned out to be a knowledgeable, superb guide with the added bonus that we were the only customers for that tour.
How to begin to explain what we saw and felt? The seeing was easier than trying to understand how to use these visual reminders of the horrors of war to help us avoid repeating the past.
We began with modern buildings all built in the area since the wall came down.
A few portions of the wall have been preserved as they were at the time of its demise.
Here you can see lines in the road to show where the wall was located.
Street vendors remind us that commerce still rules in tourist areas.
Some buildings built during the Nazi area are still standing. This one was the ministry of aviation.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a stark collection of over 2000 cement monuments of varying heights organized in a labyrinth-like layout of undulating surfaces encouraging individual reflection as you move through.
The spot where Hitler’s bunker was located has been turned into a parking lot with a small diagram of the underground layout rather than a location where ongoing supporters and holocaust deniers can assemble. It is identifiable largely by the many different tour groups seen in the area. The Brandenburg Gates ended our tour.