A Day in Berlin – The past & the present
Berlin. Where to start with this place of such incredible history?
Big tip – plan ahead, well ahead, and really decide what you want to experience. Do your research. I organised a private morning walking tour with an English guide. Meeting place: The Brandenburg Gate – along with the masses. The private experience reconfirms the huge advantages of a one-on-one guide as we quickly move from the impersonal groups.
I had specified before I met the guide that I wanted to see 20th century Berlin in what should take a week in one day. Yes 20th century. Not ancient history of broken vases and the like. WOW Berlin does indeed have a busy 20th century. And after a talk at the gate – a symbol of Berlin – it was a stroll to the Reichstag and then a few blocks to the Jewish Holocaust Memorial and over to the Homosexual Memorial, all very sobering. Another block to Hitler’s Bunker and moving from the 1940s to the 1960’s and the remaining piece of the wall – Checkpoint Charlie and more memorials to more tragedy of lives lost trying to escape from East Germany.
Next is the street where Berlin’s wild cabaret scene was happening in the 1920’s – stunning. Fast forward to the 1930s the square of Burning Books and onward to 1940 to a memorial for soldiers lost. Exhausting – my mind is overloaded.
During the afternoon I had a pre-booked a bike tour, again research and be specific on what you want to experience. I chose a company offering a 3-hour Berlin Wall tour by bike. The focus this time was of Berlin’s history. The small group was guided by a young student, his knowledge was excellent and approached the tour in a very relaxed fashion.
This is the best way to see the wall as it extends a rather long distance and the guide added his own observations which sparked more interest to the journey.
Berlin is truly a place that is going to make you spin, its history so recent its intense and exhausting. Try not to see it all, make your choice you will be emotionally drained but well and truly educated.
Want to explore more of Berlin? Read more here