Day 2 – A mammoth walk

  
Day 2 started well, for some unknown reason I managed to go to bed a normal time on the end of the first day and wake up pretty much in the morning. Jet lag seemingly sorted after one night. Although ask Claire about my snoring and you may get a less positive reaction about my first nights sleep,

After such a good kip the decision we’d held off making the night before to go on a walking tour or not was made and we headed off to meet our guide and walking group after quickly picking up a hat after I’d decided I didn’t really need one when I left Melbourne. The most annoying thing about this is I do have about 20 hats, oh well I now have 21.

Our walking guide was a very tall man called Barnaby, and when I say tall I mean over 2 metres too. Originally from London, he’d been in Berlin for nearly 12 years and had a background in political science so he definitely made for a good guide not only of the sights of the old East Berlin but also good at explaining the political situation too.

The tour took us 4 hours and my feet definitely knew it by the end. We took in a few sights we’d seen the day before but it was quite an impressive range of things to see. We saw Musuem Island, Lutheran Cathedral, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, a section of the Berlin Wall and stood on top of Hitler’s bunker.
Probably one of the most interesting sights was the ‘Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe’. A large expanse with different rectangular sized blocks throughout. We were told the design was particularly controversial for a number of reason. Firstly the memorial only recognises one group of people persecuted by the Nazis, secondly there is no graffiti on it which is unusual for Berlin and thirdly the company that provided the anti graffiti surface on each block had direct links back to the Nazis. The memorial itself was interesting (the picture is above) it definitely sums up a graveyard on a hill sort of feel. For me and I don’t know why, I imagined those graveyards in western films with a little white church and graveyard on a hill. But the memorial spoke to me of hope to, the pathways through the middle sunk quite deep but the deeper you went the higher the blocks were. So if you look from the outside the memorial peaks in the middle when it’s at its lowest. It’s definitely quite a solemn place but one I’m glad I’ve seen.

After our mammoth walk we decided a beer and a bit of food was in order. And what better than my favourite food, a proper German pizza. Beer is ridiculously cheap here, but then again maybe it’s crazily expensive in Melbourne. Even our tour guide mentioned this when we were wandering around. He thought it was a bit funny I think that the two people from Melbourne were actually a Kiwi and an Englishman.
We were started to run out of puff after the meal and the 30c heat for the second day running. However a pop to the supermarket and my new favourite soft drink, Spezi, a lemon Caffeine drink soon perked me back up and off to the DDR museum we went. A very well done museum with lots of interactive opening of draws and recreations of things from East Germany. The highlight for was probably the fully recreated East Germany apartment with original fittings.

Our evening ended at Monsieur Vuong, a very highly rated Vietnamese restaurant. The food was fresh and tasty and the beer was cold. What more could you want.
IJS

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