We access our Berlin tour bus in Warnemunde on a rainy morning. Our tour guide points out the old Henchel WWII bomber factory. The rise of Prussia in northern Germany, and it’s military victory over France led to unification in 1870. Berlin (means swamp) had been Prussia’s capital. It was chosen to be the capital of the unified Germany. It’s a 3 hr bus ride from the ship.
We drive thru Mecklenburg, a predominantly rural federal district. It’s is thinly populated but the most popular area for Germans to come on vacation. This may be due to the miles and miles of nudist beaches on the Baltic. Germans say they are born nude so what’s wrong with being nude on a beach!
There are 20,000 wind turbines in this area. We learn that 10-15% of their electricity comes from wind. Germany is among the most greenest of nations. Berlin has a population of 3 million and then more in the suburbs. We enter it thru heavily treed streets. Gas price $2.10CDN/L.
We drive by the Charlotenburg Palace that was built for the wife of a Prussian emperor. The Kaiser is forced to abdicate in 1918 after WWI. This sets off a period of political and economic instability. In 1929 the Wall Street collapse leads to pull back on loans to Germany and it’s economic ruin. The Nazi party goes from 3 to 37%. They are invited to from a coalition government. Within a few years they murder all their political allies, announce pogroms against Jews and start WWII. Hitler’s vision is to make Germany the dominant world power. A thug and his goons in power for sure.
We walk past the Rieschstag (Germany’s parliament building) and thru the Brandenburg Gate to East Berlin. Daniel our guide explains that this gate was in between the outer and inner Berlin Wall – the so called death zone where anyone present would be shot by East German guards.
As we walk thru the holocaust memorial – a set of 7211 large concrete blocks, I feel overwhelmed in the maze. It would be easy to get lost. I think of Auscwitz. We have some German sausage on a bun for lunch. Then it is on to the Royal Blvd under the Linden trees. We gape at the spectacular Lutheran Cathedral and look at photos where Hitler and Goebbels onve spoke to the masses in this very same square. Daniel our guide explains yiu can be arrested here for denying the Holcadpaust or doing the Nazi salute!
At Checkpoint Charlie we stop for a photo by the longest section remaining of the Berlin Wall. Then we look at the parking lot below which once stood Hitler’s bunker. There are cranes and construction everywhere in the central core. It’s a work in progress to restore and rebuild the city from its WWII destruction.
Satisfied, it’s time to head back to the ship. We are exhausted and ready for some wine. This is the last night on the Marina and we have to finish packing. Great German themed dinner in the Terrace. We finish after 9 PM. Large bags packed and outside our door by 10PM.
We enjoyed seeing Berlin.