After a 2 hour bus ride from Dresden, we finally arrived to our new home in Berlin at the famous Hotel Berlin Berlin. It was nice to be greeted at the Hotel door by the Berlin Bear that throughout the city. This is similar to the Orcas and Eagles that were throughout Vancouver. It was great to see other cities doing the same thing.
Once we got settled into our hotel rooms, we headed out on 1/2 day tour of the city. It was amazing to see that we were given such a huge bus for only 14 people.
Our first stop took us to the famous Brandenburg Gate. The gate was commissioned by Fredrick William II of Prussia in 1788 and was the entry point to the city palace in the boulevard of linden trees. It was also an important entry point when Berlin was separated into the East and West sides. Now the Brandenburg Gate is a European landmark and is surrounded by many consulates.
Our tour continued through the city where we got to see a section of the remaining Berlin Wall where famous artists where asked to paint the wall after the wall came down in 1989 to form a huge graffiti wall. Most recently the artists where invited to come back and repaint their section and update them with their signature.
We continued our tour around the city seeing all the old section of the former East Berlin and seeing the new architecture throughout the city including the famous Sony Centre.
Our next stop was the famous Checkpoint Charlie. This was the crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. Here you can pose with some people dressed in US, French and Russian soldier uniforms (at a cost of 4 Euros) or get your passport stamped with replicas of the original stamps for about 5 Euros. I opted out not to get my passport stamped as I felt it was too “Niagara Falls” for me.
It was very odd being such an area where there was a division of the city. If it wasn’t for some of the monuments currently around the city, you wouldn’t know there was an old wall. I even got to step over the old line.
An amazing day with lots of information provided by our tour guide. The evening we got together as a group for an amazing dinner. The next couple of days we will be on our own and I’ll hopefully get to go back to some of the sites we saw our initial tour.