London to Bruges to Amsterdam to Berlin. Germany’s capital city and home to a very heavy past and one of the most horrendous dictators in modern history. Throughout Berlin there are loads of memorials and museums all in honour and memory of those affected by war times and related events. One of the most prominent memorials being the ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’, which is a compilation of over 2700 ash coloured, asymmetrical, rectangular concrete slabs covering 4.7acres (or the size of a city block). I won’t say too much about it though because the whole point of this memorial is that you are to draw your own meaning from the display, so I’ll leave it with you to check it out yourself.
A lot of the sights throughout Berlin have very deep historical significance and are related to the events that occurred around the Second World War. I visited Check Point Charlie, Berlin Wall and the East Side Gallery, and a few more, all of which are ridiculously hard to describe because I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to live in time where these locations were active. All I can say is that I am extremely lucky to be living the life I do and in the era we are in.
For my first day in Berlin a small group of us hit most of the historical and tourist sites around town, during and after the free walking tour. Along with the visiting the places mentioned earlier, we also cartwheeled in Teirgarten, climbed the ridiculous amount of stairs up Victory Column and checked out TV tower and museum island. A massive day of walking in beautiful weather, topped off with a successful bounce shot to win a Beer Pong tournament at the hostel.
Day two in Berlin was a completely different scene as I took a tour out to Sachenhausen, a former concentration camp that ran from 1936-1945 in Oranienburg. Most of this camp was destroyed during liberation, though what remains shows the horrifying truth to what happened behind closed doors. The camp is very well informed with written and interactive displays owning up to its disturbed past and even with only remnants remaining it’s not hard to sense the immense physical and emotional trauma of the victims of Sachenhausen. Such an emotionally heavy site that can only be experienced; nothing, and especially not words, could do justice for the lives tortured within Sachenhausen and all camps like it. Truely an eye-opening experience.
Tips for Berlin:
- To do: There are so many historical sites from ancient to modern history, though many of which would be worthless without a guide as they aren’t sign posted or the signs are in German
- Food: Currywurst is a popular cuisine and it is delicious
- Drink: Beer… obviously
Next Stop: Prague, Czechia
Annie Charlotte xx