Originally published 27 December 2015
The sun rising on the Reichstag, Berlin
We awoke this morning in our little rolling hotel room, courtesy of Deutsche Bahn. We rolled into Berlin at 7:19 and discovered that it's not even light yet! We stow our packs in a train station locker, grab a bite to eat, and begin our wanderings. Our first stop is at the "TI" or tourist information. They are in nearly every town in Europe and in multiple places in larger cities. We buy our metro cards so we're set up to use the subways, trams, and buses while we are here.
As the sun comes up on Berlin, we head out for our first destination, a flea market that i had found online. We bought some minor souvenirs and had a great time! We love street markets in Europe....but flea markets (flowmarkt) are even better!On the way there on the tram, I noticed the large amount of Berlin Wall stuff. We went to the flea market with the intent of hitting this on the way back, which was exactly what we did.
Laurie in the Mauerpark Fleamarket
I was born in the early 60's and grew up in the middle of the "cold war". As most of you know, I have been a lifelong student of history. My interest in the cold war is only second to World War II. The two are of course interconnected. Perhaps that is why I was so interested in them both. Consequently, this was a very big day for me.
I read many books on the Berlin wall growing up. I studied quite a few books, magazines, and movies on the subject. I even knew several people who lived in the area and when the wall closed, they fled to the west. Nothing spectacular, but to coin an American phrase, "They got the hell out of Dodge"....a reference to the cowboy gunfights of old.
Bill and Laurie hanging at the Berlin Wall
Everyone said it cut the city in half.....that's not accurate. It made west Berlin an island, surrounded by the eastern block part of Germany. Supplies came in by truck and train, through the DDR (Deutsche Democratic Republic...and they were far from Democratic). When the Soviets decided to tighten the noose, The allies did the infamous Berlin Airlift to keep West Berlin fed and supplied. After nearly a year (and two hundred thousand flights), the DDR relented and allowed shipments to continue via ground.
Going here was very similar to my visit to Normandy. I knew where I was, and I knew a great deal about what went on there. I was absorbed in it, wandering from place to place looking at the wall that was left, and studying all the details about it. It felt so odd wandering an area that was one of if not the most guarded borders in history. The deaths related to the wall......everything was very...intense.
After our morning adventures, we went to a Donner Kebap restaurant, which was fantastic. After this, we wandered a bit, then got our packs at the train station and checked in at Easy Hotel. It's simple, clean, and cheap. We'll do fine here!
See ya tomorrow!
Berlin Slide Show day one
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I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.
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