Today we breakfasted at our apartment with yogurt, fruit & muesli that we had picked up at the grocery store, supplemented by another early morning bakery run by Deb. Then we were off for another interesting, history filled day.
We took off on the S-Bahn, today realizing we could travel as a Kleiner Gruppe for a substantial discount. 🙂 Our first stop was to be at the Deutsches Museum, but I somehow got that confused and we ended up in the DDR Museum. This was however a serendipitous mistake as we all thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits at the DDR. This museum is a “hands-on experience” that shows you how the East Berliners lived from 1961 – 1989. Some aspects of their lives looked quite normal – but on closer examination, the government control was something that is hard for us to imagine. The regimentation started early, with group potty breaks – no child could leave until everyone had done their duty!
Harvey and Larry enjoyed trying out the people’s car – the Traben…. certainly not up to North American standards.
We then headed to the Deutsches Historisches Museum and this time arrived at the correct spot. This museum houses a very thorough account of German history from 100 BC to 1994. My goodness, they have had their trials & tribulations. We focused most of our attention on the period from 1918 – 1945, beginning with the German empire that emerged from the revolutionary shockwaves of the First World War to form a parliamentary democracy. The economy had a roller coaster ride, with periods of relative stability and other times with unbelievable devaluation of the currency. Entering into the 1930’s, the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nazi Party) gained strength with Hitler at the helm. As we all know, this led to the darkest time in German history. The museum presents the story of the Holocaust in a factual manner, not minimizing any of the details. Many of the exhibits are haunting and leave one with a better understanding of just why intervention was required.
The museums took us well past lunch time and we paused for great sandwiches at a delightful bakery & bistro.
The next stop on our historical tour was the Berlin Wall Memorial, an outdoor exhibit at the lone remaining intact stretch of the Berlin Wall. This exhibit presents the building of the wall and continuing enhancements to try to stop the escape attempts. It also focuses on those men, women and children who lost their lives while attempting to escape from East to West Berlin.
After a lot of heavy, albeit fascinating, history, we headed to a much more light-hearted event. The Berlin version of Octoberfest is taking place at Alexandrplatz and we stopped in to check out the sites. Pretty tame compared to what Kristin & Justine have told us about the celebrations in Munich, but nevertheless, we enjoyed looking around and may return tomorrow to partake in some refreshments.
It was now late afternoon and we rode the train back to Friedrichshain for a short rest before dinner. Tonight we chose a local German eatery and indulged in some of the traditional dishes. Harv tried out the Berlin speciality of currywurst, Bev had schnitzel and Larry enjoyed the goulash. Deb was the health conscious one of the group, ordering a delicious chicken salad. It was all great, paired with another good German beer.
Now off to sleep before our last day of touring Berlin – a city that we are thoroughly enjoying!
B, H, D & L