Berlin, Germany Mar 7-10

We missed a trip in February that we were supposed to go on because Ben had a giant kidney stone baby that needed to be blown to smitherines in an Italian hospital… Sooo this was our first trip since Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We liked Germany so much we decided to go back! Oh and we’re really just hoping that kidney stone is gone…

Ohh BEARlin…

Our plane there was 2 and a half hours delayed leaving so we felt a little cheated on our first day in Berlin. We got in later than we wanted and ended up eating at the hotel restaurant for dinner because the thought of having to navigate was not appealing.

The classic bathroom/hotel pictures of our amazing digs. I missed the husband sprawled on the bed picture aka the standard We had our own hallway!quality control pic

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We had our own hallway!

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Napoleon once stole the statue on top of these columns. They ended up stealing it back.. 🙂

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This is called Brandenburg Tower. We met here for our free walking tour which is our staple.

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This is the hotel that Michael Jackson dangled his baby out of!… We heard that story and laughed hysterically

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This is the amazing Jewish Memorial in Berlin. An American designed the memorial and has left it open to interpretation.

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All the rectangles are different heights and spaced farther and closer together as you walk through.

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Our tour guide said that his interpretation came from a book he read that was written by a Jewish man who lived through the beginning of Nazi occupation and survived in a concentration camp until the end of the war. In the beginning, the rectangles are really short and spaced far apart. These are like the annoying rules and restrictions Hitler put on the Jewish people in the beginning. And as the war started and things got worse, the restrictions grew and were overwhelming. The rectangles in the memorial get larger and taller. The ground is wavy and uneven so that you never have good footing throughout. It was very powerful and meaningful to see.

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This was an important square during the war. One side was French, the other was German. It was a place of unity during the war.

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Checkpoint Charlie! It was manned and guarded by American Army soldiers because they were in charge of one fourth of the rebuilding of Berlin after the war was over… and into the Cold War.

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This was pretty cool for Ben to see, and myself but his tie to it as a prior MP made it exciting for him 🙂

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THE wall

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So I never paid much attention in History class… but our tour guide explained the wall the best I’ve ever heard, or maybe I just finally had enough room to fit it in my head. After WWII was over Germany was split into 4 regions run by America, France, Russia, and Britain. The funny thing is they also split up Berlin the same way. So in the middle of the Russian run area of Germany, Berlin had a little bit of America, Britain, and France. For a long time it was very easy for Germans in the Russian run area of Germany to escape through the non Russian run areas of Berlin. One day, overnight, they put up a wire fence around the East side of Berlin. And the escaping was over. They built up stronger fences over time and if anyone made it to this part of the wall, they were easy to pick off by the guards in the tower. Trying to escape over the wall was basically a suicide mission… I can’t believe that things this horrific have happened this recently in history.

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This was a mural attempt at showing how good socialism was. Look how happy everyone is in the painting. It was a great big lie…

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This was a real picture of what the mobs looked like. It was not quite happy.

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At the end of the tour we were brought to Hitler’s bunker. Where he lived his last days and committed suicide. They burned it down a long time ago and put up boring apartments in order to deglamorize the area. There is a sign at the entrance to let people know that it is a historic site, so they aren’t completely hiding it. I’m not sure I could ever live in one of those apartments… I bet they’re pretty cheap!

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OMG there are Dunkin Donuts EVERYWHERE in Berlin!

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This is my happy face. There’s really no such thing as a good donut that I’ve encountered anywhere in Europe, so this was a long time coming!!!

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I loved that Bear on the hop on hop off tour bus.

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We spent the end of our day doing another traditional tourist thing. Going to Hard Rock Cafe. This was a tiny HR but very good!

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On the wall right next to our table, a plaque from St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, Michigan!! It was like fate!
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The next day we took a leisurely stroll together around the city, it was such a nice day out and a lot of fun to explore at our own pace.

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There were bears painted different themes all over the city. This was a good one. They remind me of the painted mermaids all over Norfolk, VA.

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That really tall building is a TV Tower. We were going to go up the tower, it was quite a long wait so we walked around the square to explore and shop.

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street performers are our favorite

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Our views from the TV Tower!

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It was a good time, but we probably won’t go back (they didn’t have any pugs!). Thanks BEARlin, it was fun and real.

Next up, Amsterdam!

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