Setting out south from Copenhagen we had a great day at 24 degrees and slightly cloudy. There was almost no wind. We made the ferry at Gedser in good time after 155 km.
Here you can just ride up and get a ticket. There were about 15 other bikes here as well. The lashing points are pretty good. They space the bikes out at designated spots along both outer walls, where there are permanently attached ratchet tie downs that secure the bike to the wall and the deck.
The crossing was very calm on the 2-hour trip.
From here we headed east to the island of Rugen Germany. This was just a scenic stop that was not too far from the ferry in case we had issues and arrived later in the day. We set up camp and then took a tour thru the national park. The storm in the night was incredible. It was pouring, like build an ark pouring and the thunder and lightening were deafening.
Luckily for us it stopped in the early morning so we could pack up in the dry. We then backtracked to the 20 and rode south and west on the dreaded highway all day in 34-degree heat to get to Berlin.
Our green card insurance runs out this week and we need to renew at ADAC. They are the only agents who will do this now. We arrived to the huge ADAC office near the Mitte zone about 2. The agent informed us that there are no ADAC offices in Berlin that sell green card insurance since the end of 2014. The nearest offices are more than 100 km (in almost all directions) away.
AGH! Well what can you do? So melting in the heat we made our way to the hotel we had booked near the Tiergarden. Driving up the main road we rode up to the Victory Column. This commemorates the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian war of 1866. As we rode up the street a truck pulled up next to us and the passenger yelled out to us with thumbs up “Welcome to Berlin!”
After some cold showers and aircon we ventured outside. Near our hotel is the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, which was heavily damaged in bombing raids in 1943.
We walked about 5 km thru the Tier gardens, past the Victory Column, (which since 1864 has commemorated the Prussian victory in the Prussian-Danish War), and to the Bundestag or parliament with its glass-domed roof.
Next we headed to the nearby Brandenburg gate. This is one of the original 14 gates to the city. This 18th-century “neoclassical triumphal arch” is one of the best-known landmarks of Germany.
Out front of the gate you can see 2 lines of bricks that mark the location of the Berlin wall that divided the city for almost 30 years.
Today we signed up for a walking tour of the city. This included a trip to Museum Island a UNESCO site. The evidence of the mortar wounds is clearly seen.
The Museum of Fine Art.
The massive Altes museum and the domed Berlin Cathedral flank the large square.
From here you can see the tallest “building” in Germany. This is the TV tower built by the Socialist German Democratic Republic to be “seen” by those in the West. When the sun shines on the globe it forms “a cross” and the joke was that this was the Popes revenge on the Socialist regime.
Next it was the memorial to the fallen soldiers of all wars
The memorial to the infamous Nazi book burning in 1933 is in front of the University Library. The picture does not show it well, but the Plexiglas covers the opening to a white room lined with empty white bookshelves with space for 25,000 books
This is an example of a “ghost” station on the subway. When the wall was up these stations were not open for access as the trains running here were west Berlin cars that passed under this area in East Berlin. They did offer opportunities for escape to the west however.
From here you pass the British, French, and USA embassies, which flank the Brandenburg gate. The Napoleon took the original statue from atop the gate in 1806 and the new one turns her head to “stink” eye the French embassy!
We passed by the Memorial for the Jews murdered in the holocaust. It was getting late in the day so we will have to come back here to visit the information center. The memorial has no signage except a small information plaque off to the side. It is an almost 5 acre site covered with 2711 (number is random) concrete slabs or stellae arranged in a grid pattern on the sloped field. The slabs are 2 1/2 by 1 meter and vary in height from .2 to 4.8 meters. “The stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. However, observers have noted the memorial’s resemblance to a cemetery.”
We visited the site of Hitler’s bunker, which is now a parking lot in an effort to “normalize” the site. They city did not want to create a focal point for undesirable groups of people. There is a small plaque erected in the corner for information. You can however use the WC they placed over top!
We visited the site of the 1952 workers uprising which was at the now lone standing 3 rd Reich building. Being practical the Germans did not tear down this massive building, but repurposed it as a Government office, but of course all insignias have all been removed. The side walls still hold the propaganda painting from the Socialist era.
Next we walked by one of the 3 remaining sections of the Berlin wall. The wall was erected in 3 stages. The first was razor wire and wood, then bricks. The last phase was concrete in an L shape so you could not drive a car thru them. Here there is a memorial to those persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime. The red brick walls are the remains of the basement of the SS prison cells.
The memorial is located beside an empty lot, which was once the site of the SS and Gestapo offices. It has been left just covered with rocks and nothing will ever be built here.
The wall surrounded West Berlin, but there were a number of checkpoints. The only one that could be used by military personnel and tourists was the checkpoint “C” or “Charlie”. It is now a tourist attraction manned by German actors in USA uniforms.
For our last day here we decided to visit the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. There is a very moving and informative center under ground. The displays are very centered around the individual stories of people and families. Above ground the memorial consists of several thousand stellae of various heights and that is mirrored in the ceiling of the visitor center.
The afternoon was spent at the Pergamon Museum where some of the treasures from the Middle East can be found. Some of the large facades were heavily damaged in WW2.