Day 39- Big Day in Berlin

Today was a busy day exploring Berlin! We got up and got ready and headed to the train to the city. When we arrived, we first had brunch at a cafe since we didn't feel like grocery shopping last night. 

We first went to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The monument was the size of an entire block. It was like a maze walking through all of the giant cement blocks. I believe it began to capture the overwhelming numbers of European Jews who lost their lives at the hands of the Germans.   

IMG_1155.JPG
IMG_1127.JPG

Around the corner from this striking memorial, is the Brandenburg Gate. It has a much brighter meaning, transforming from a symbol of division during the Cold War to a symbol of German unity. 

IMG_1149.JPG

As impressive as the gate is, I think Alexander was more excited about the American Embassy which is right next to it...  

IMG_1134.JPG

Then, a little ways farther is the Reichstag building! It is a beautiful and impressive government building.

IMG_1143.JPG

Then, right next to the Reichtag is the Grosser Tiergarten, a giant park in the middle of Berlin. In the garden was a monument to Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven!  

IMG_1116.JPG
IMG_1135.JPG

After weaving through the garden, we headed towards the German Spy Museum. Unsurprisingly, this stop was Alexander's idea! However, I do admit it was quite interesting to learn about what a big role espionage played in different conflicts. It was also fascinating to see the kind of gear spies actually had like tiny cameras and microphones hidden in regular looking objects.

IMG_1159.JPG
IMG_1158.JPG

On the way to our next museum, we stopped by the last DDR guard watchtower. When in use, the tower had one man facing west and one man facing east, looking on either side of the wall. 

IMG_1130.JPG

We, of course, then saw what was remaining of the Berlin Wall.  

IMG_1132.JPG
IMG_1131.JPG

This portion of the wall stands in front of the Topography of Terror museum. This museum discussed the Nazi atrocities that were committed between 1938 and 1945. The exhibit had many photographs outlining how the Nazis were able to gain so much power and influence to justify their actions. I was so shocked and saddened to learn about how many SS and Nazi officers were able to hide and never face punishment for their crimes. 

After learning about this terrible subject, we felt we needed to decompress a little bit, so we went to a coffee shop and sipped tea and comtemplated.  

Once we finished, we went to our last tourist-y stop of the day- Checkpoint Charlie. I honestly thought it would be a lot more impressive, I almost walked by before Alexander said that was it! Now, it is just a stand in the middle of the road with souvenir shops all around it.  

IMG_1125.JPG

After this busy day of sightseeing, we decided to have our traditional German dinner that we have both been excited about! Since we will be in Germany for over a week, this probably won't be our only traditional German meal! 

0924D909-5E5B-4436-B54B-D4F68F94B04E.JPG

Now we are back and pooped! Time to get to sleep and geared up for tomorrow!