On day two of our massive European tour, we hopped off an overnight Eurobus and walked straight into the heart of Germany. We were able to locate the Berlin trams easily, but really struggled to pay for our tickets into the city because it only accepted cash! So after about 15 minutes of freaking out and not understanding the angry Germans shouting at us, were procured the tickets and hopped on the trams to Parisier Platz, which is the city center. Since we only had 8 hours to spare until our bus to Prague, we opted for a free Red Umbrella tour that would show us all the sights in a short amount of time. We located the Starbucks that we had to meet at, grabbed some coffee to keep us alive, changed again, and met up with our tour guide.
We were able to start the tour off at the Brandenburg Gate, which was pretty much the only sight I knew in Berlin. This city was where my mom had studied abroad after high school when the Berlin Wall was up, so it was really surreal to see the place she had talked so fondly of for most of my life. The tour led us to the Memorial of Murdered Jews of Europe, which was very sobering.
After the memorial, our tour guide led us to the Nazi headquarters that were still standing and the Fuhrerbunker, which was the underground bunker that Hitler hid in after the war came to an end. We obviously weren’t able to get into the bunker or the headquarters, but both areas seemed very bleak, with sharp edged architecture and very neutral colors. We also saw the Reichstag, which is the German Parliament building, and it looked just as bleak.
Then we went to Potsdamer Platz, which was completely decimated during World War II. This is a public square in the center of the city, which was once known as the busiest traffic intersection of Europe. This was where the Berlin Wall was put during the Cold War, so we were able to see bits and pieces of the wall at this sight while munching on some German pretzels that were the size of my face.
We were also able to see Checkpoint Charlie, which is where you could cross from East to West Germany during the cold war. My mom had crossed through this border when she had studied here, so it was very cool to be able to experience that and talk to her about it later on.
After that, the tour went to the University, but Caroline and I were very tired at that point. So we sat down, took a little breather, and then headed towards our next bus to Prague. Now keep in mind that we haven’t showered or slept in real beds for awhile, so we’re starting to smell a bit and are getting a bit grumpy. Luckily we booked an Airbnb in Prague.