The next morning we had breakfast and boarded our tour bus at 8:30 a.m. for a short Berlin City tour. This really helped orient us to the sights and gave me what I thought was a sense of direction and getting my bearings. I needed this because I was feeling very disoriented. Kind of detached and like a stranger in a strange land.
At around 11:00 a.m. some of us went on another tour to East Berlin. This was an option. My sister decided to stay at the hotel and rest.
A local Berliner took us on this tour. She knew a lot of information, but she had a voice that was very hard to listen to. We saw many old buildings that were restored after the war. They were beautiful, but we rarely got out of the bus to take pictures because the weather was so awful.
Finally we stopped where a long row of the Berlin Wall had been set up and artists were commissioned to paint each section with a political statement. This is called The East Side Gallery and it's on the Spree River. It is the largest open air gallery in the world.
Many of the paintings have been badly damaged.
Some of them were very interesting.
Behind the row of street paintings was the River Spree and a beautiful bridge.
The "Floating Lounge" appeared to be a Hostel. How cool would that be to stay their for a while. We didn't have time to check this out. We had to get back to our bus and move on. Besides, we were REALLY COLD.
There were two stories and lots of pictures of the Berlin Wall and the efforts people made to get to West Berlin. How would you like to be "luggage" in a Volkswagon Bug trunk? The museum was very interesting, but so filled with people, breathing on each other and very, very warm. Maybe that was a "special effect" for the tour. To let you get an idea how it would have been to be in a tunnel under the "death strip" during your escape to West Berlin. I couldn't wait to get outside.
Check Point Charlie was the most famous crossing between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. If you are interested, read about this restriction of emigration here. It's amazing what people did to leave East Berlin.
Throughout the city of Berlin you can see where the "Wall" was in the city's streets and sidewalks.
A double row of cobblestones follows the invisible wall over the path of where it use to be, as a reminder of its existence during the Cold War.
I have been sick since I got home. I thought it was a cold but it's a bit worse that a cold. Today I feel somewhat better.
Writing these posts is helping me sort out the trip. Reading about the places that we saw and learning the history of each place is allowing me to appreciate my trip more. It was a whirlwind of a tour and sometimes I would wake up and think, "Where I'm I?" Having my sister with me was wonderful. She and I were great support for each other.
Next time I will tell you about our walk to the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin, at night and kind of going in the wrong direction. I, with my perfect sense of direction, got lost. Being on a bus is different than walking. I thought West was North. Yes. I was so sure. I will blame it on the rain clouds that didn't allow me to see where the sun was setting and , so, not getting my bearings. But we survived.
... then I will move on to Leipzig and Dresden.