So we start back up on our journey to Germany and the big city of Berlin! Before leaving Poland, we needed to get the appropriate stickers for the car in order to enter in the other countries we planned on visiting! So a quick stop in Warsaw to get everything we needed and away we went!
And any of you that know Paul know we need to scope out the nearest Starbucks at every stop we make, so Starbucks is always on the radar! With Stickers on the car, we headed west! The roads were unlike our roads, meaning very narrow and quite bumpy until we hit the highway and away we went! As soon as we hit Germany, the wonder of the autobahn started!!!
This was yet another dream of mine to cross off! I always thought the autobahn was a little stretch of highway where you could go as fast as you wanted, but little did I know that the entire highway is the autobahn! So we got comfortable at around 80 mph and cruised right along! It was super weird to be traveling at that speed and have others pass you by as if you were only crawling along, but it was just great! Paul is always the designated driver so he knew exactly what to do! Not too much longer and as the night was quickly approaching, we got our first glimpse of Berlin!
The first sight you see before even getting to the city is the Berliner Fernsehturm, a Television tower, Restaurant and observation tower. Standing at 1,207 feet tall, it is the tallest structure in Germany and the second tallest structure in the European Union.
We get the car parked and settle in for a nice walk around the town before trying to find a hotel. Now mind you, back in those travel days we did no planning ahead as far as accommodations so it was just us figuring it all out along the way! Here are some of the sites we saw before trying to find our room!
This was Paul’s first adventure outside of Poland, so he was finally going to get a taste of what it felt like to be in a foreign country just like me! We got on quite well actually, besides the mishap I had while being out of the car for a mere 5 or so minutes! DO NOT walk in the bicycle zone! I learned this very quickly as I didn’t know what I was doing and found myself unknowingly walking where I shouldn’t have… and BOOM!!! A biker caught his handle bar in my camera strap and I nearly took him down! Boy did the (what I’m assuming were) German swear words roll off of his tongue and I turned beat red and tried my best to say I was sorry, but he just wasn’t having it… So after he collected himself away he went, and away we went to find a hotel!
We ended up at the Titanic Hotel in downtown Berlin, which unfortunately I do not have any pictures of but if you are in the area, STAY THERE! It’s awesome! Rooms are small but super comfy and modern and it was the perfect place to crash for the night!
The next morning rolls around and we are up and ready to go! So much to see and do before heading out to our next destination that night!
The one thing that I loved about Berlin were all of the flower shops everywhere! The city was very clean and just seeing all these amazing flower shops was super neat! I wanted to buy some for the car but Paul said no! We walked a bit to our first stop, which is also a “must do” when in Berlin is Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall…
Checkpoint Charlie was the name given by the Western Allies to the best known Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947-1991) We could have gotten our passports stamped there but the line was super long so we decided to keep walking. Then, the Berlin Wall came in sight. This was nothing like the image I had in my mind of what it was going to look like. There is now a fenced off section of the wall which is the best and one of the only parts of the wall still standing in its original place. Along the backside is a museum, or memorial if you will that we walked through and just being there was one of my first surreal moments of the trip.
A little recap on history…. The Berlin Wall was a concrete barrier that physically and “ideologically” divided Berlin from 1961 all the way thru 1989 when Reagan gave his now infamous “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev teat down this wall!” speech. There is too much history with just this wall alone so if you are ever bored or just plain curious, I suggest reading more about it. It really is quite a sight to see…
Onward to a few more sights!
Th above picture is of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. There are 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae” arranged in a grid within 4.7 acres of land. An attached underground “Place of Information” holds the names of approximately 3 million Jewish holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem. Another sight to behold.
Now we make our way to the famous Brandenburg Gate which is an 18th Century neoclassical monument and one of the best known landmarks in all of Germany. Throughout it’s existence, the Brandenburg gate was often a site for major historical events and is today considered not only as a symbol of the history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace. Construction of the gate took place between 1788 and 1791.
Here is our first “sighting”…
And one of my favorite pictures:
After walking around the Gate for a while, we headed onward to my first European Cathedral, The Berliner Dom, or Cathedral. And boy, I was not disappointed!
The Berlin Cathedral was consecrated in the year 1454 as the Roman Catholic St. Erasmus Chapel. The modern-day cathedral though, stands nothing like what was originally built. With a very long and interesting history of wars, bombings and such, another good history read awaits you!
One thing I have always been fascinated with has been pipe organs! Growing up playing the piano and every chance I got to sit with our organist at church, the pipe organ quickly became my all time favorite instrument! The Organ inside the Cathedral again did not disappoint!
Here are more photos of the incredible inside! We will in fact get to visit this place again in two years so more about the cathedral then! We can’t have all the fun the first time around!
After leaving the Cathedral, it was time to say goodbye to Berlin… for now anyways! You see, this first tour of Europe, we wanted to get as much in as possible so we were only in one city for one day and one night before heading onward!
Before leaving Germany though on our way to our next destination, we had to stop and use the bathroom! The smallest pleasures often come from the unexpected stops and this was our first small pleasure! After a few hours on the road, we pulled over in a little town called Dohna, Germany. We literally took a step back in time while walking through this beautiful little town!
As we made out way through the village, not a single person spoke English… Not. A. One! We stopped at a few places to try to find a restroom but nothing was open. We finally spot a library which had some movement so we headed off in that direction! We stepped inside and quickly found the lady at the desk. “Do you have a bathroom”? She just shrugged her shoulders not understanding a word we said. “Toilet? Water Closet?” but nothing seemed to work. We left, still without using a bathroom! On our way out, we noticed their current stack of movies was only available on VHS! We chuckled and proceeded! Without any other choice, we found the nearest bush and finally got some relief! Good thing the town was empty!
And with that, comes the end of our time in Germany!
Next on the list, the wondrous city of Prague! So once again, stay tuned!!