A Napolean Complex; This city's so full of history, it's ridiculous!

Berlin Travel Blog

 › entry 60 of 98 › view all entries
Berlin is triumphant!

It's free walking tour day! I discovered the fabulousness of the New Europe's free walking tours in Munich, and I was definitely going to take advantage of them here. After having to switch rooms, which I believe was absolutely pointless as I was put into an identical 6 bed dorm, I discovered the strangeness that is the shower in this hostel. While it's a nice, clean, ensuite bathroom, the shower is run by pushing on a knob, which turns on the shower...for about 5 seconds. This means that if you want more than a 5 second shower, you have to be continuously pumping this knob for water to come out, which is an interesting feat to accomplish while trying to shampoo and the likes at the same time.

I easily found the start of the tour and decided that an ice tea with a little caffeine was in order, and stopped at a little stand in the middle of the square. Looking behind me I was surprised to see one of the guys who had been in my Hobo Bear hostel in Zagreb, Croatia about a month ago. We swapped stories about our travels since we'd seen each other, then headed out own ways to catch our respective tours. This is literally the fifth time in a week I've run into someone I know or who knows my friends back home.

The girls from my hostel the night before turned up on the tour, and we all spent the next several hours learning about the fascinating history of Berlin, starting with Paris Square, right at the Bramburg Gate.

The Holocaust memorial-hundreds of concrete blocks of all sizes, almost a maze you could get lost in but so cool!
On top of this impressive gate is a statue of a lady riding horses, which was originally named something to the extent of The Lady of Peace who was supposed to bring peace into the city. However, she didn't live up to her name and at some point during the war, Napolean decided he liked the statue and stole it, putting it in the Louvre in Paris. Years later it was finally recovered and renamed. Ironically, her head is looking right at the French embassy in the square, as if to make sure France doesn't ever slip up again.

We also learned a lot about WWI and WWII, and how Germany and Berlin were split up into the East and West, the communist party forming a wall between the two almost overnight. The wall was built in several stages, and eventually had guards, snipers, dogs, barbed wire, and even nails to keep people from crossing from East to West.

The wall finally came down in a peaceful protest, despite threats that there would be blood spilt if anyone were to demonstrate. A few memorials such as the Book Burning Memorial, Holocaust Memorial and the Memorial to Anyone Who Suffered Under Tyranny of War were visited. I especially liked the Holocaust Memorial with its hundreds of concrete blocks in various sizes all in rows, although there is controversy over it as it cost so much and is only dedicated to the slaughtered Jews.

Feeling good about my new knowledge of Berlin's history, I walked around for a bit more with the girls from the night before and eventually found my way back to the hostel. I talked to Mom on the phone and just two minutes after hanging up with her, she called me back, and ended up crying about how she misses me and how she's worried about me going to Asia, which of course made me feel terrible that all I could do was tell her I was giving her an airhug and that I'll be back in August, which is still pretty far away. In the mood to do something tonight, I ended up talking to these two guys from Rome who were figuring out how to get to the Ministry of Sound, a pretty famous disco. They invited me to come along, but at 11:30 when I was supposed to meet them, I wasn't feeling up for it and ended up crashing instead, which was probably the best thing for me; there's always tomorrow!

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Berlin is triumphant!
Berlin is triumphant!
The Holocaust memorial-hundreds of…
The Holocaust memorial-hundreds o…
Book burning memorial-empty, white…
Book burning memorial-empty, whit…
Woman crying, holding her dying son
Woman crying, holding her dying son
Flutist playing in the museum squa…
Flutist playing in the museum squ…
photo by: CFD