After another day at sea we docked in Warnemünde in Germany.
Funny story; although this was my first time on German soil, it shouldn’t have been. When I was about 13 years old I went on a school trip that was supposed to go to Germany. We were going to travel to Germany overnight on a coach, spend the day in Germany at a Christmas market, then return home that evening. I know, what a stupid idea!
Anyway, the weather was horrendous and our ferry over to France was delayed. By the time we made it over the English Channel it was too late to go to Germany, so we ended up spending the day in Bruges in Belgium instead. It was a bit of a disaster.
So yes, I was excited to finally be in Germany over a decade later than I should have! As for Tyrone, he’d actually been to Germany (Cologne) before. He also went on a school trip, but that time around they actually made it to Germany!
We decided to book an excursion to Berlin even though we were docked a good 3 hour drive outside of the capital. I know you’re going to think we’re mad for going on this excursion but we felt like we might as go while we were in Germany. And I’m glad we did.
We dozed off a few times during the journey. We stopped at a service station on the way for a toilet break about halfway, and we bought some Kinder Bueno ice creams which we’d never tried before (and they’ve only just started selling them in the UK!). They were glorious!
Our first stop of the day in Berlin was the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
I’d heard people say that it was a lot smaller than they were expecting and I have to say I agree.
From the Brandenburg Gate we walked to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (also known as the Holocaust Memorial). It is comprised of 2,711 concrete slabs of varying heights and you can walk through it. It’s a very poignant place to visit.
The next stop of the day was a section of the Berlin Wall that is still standing. It was smaller and narrower than I was expecting it to be.
The West Berlin side of the wall was covered in graffiti but the East Berlin side was untouched as people weren’t allowed that close to the wall.
You can see on these photos that there’s concrete piping on the top of the wall. Apparently, this was to make it more difficult to climb over.
The massive globe in the photo below is the Berlin HiFlyer. It’s a massive hot air balloon that you can go up in and get panoramic views of the city.
Next, we went to see Checkpoint Charlie; one of the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin. This isn’t actually the original guardhouse as the original is at the Allied Museum, which is also in Berlin. The guardhouse in the picture below is just a replica.
We had quite a bit of free time to spend in the area around Checkpoint Charlie, but the heat made doing anything unbearable. At one point in the day it reached 40°C. The last time I experience heat that intense was in Egypt!
Fortunately, it was soon time for lunch. Our lunch was included in the cost of the excursion and it consisted of pork knuckle (Schweinshaxe), sauerkraut and potatoes. The pork knuckle was huge! We had to be shown how to cut into it to find the meat because us Brits aren’t used to eating it! Although it might sound disgusting it was absolutely delicious and so filling. It was also my first time trying sauerkraut and I loved it!
Of course, Tyrone had the veggie option which was veggie burgers. I kind of felt bad sitting there eating my knuckle!
Our meal also included a glass of beer as well as a salad to start and apple strudel for dessert.
The last stop of the day was the Reichstag building. The Reichstag is an important part of Germany’s history and is currently the home of the German parliament. It was heavily damaged in the war but underwent a massive reconstruction which took until 1999. This reconstruction included the creation of the glass dome that you can see on top of the building.
Our time in Berlin was short but sweet, and we managed to see so many of the iconic sights in just a short period of time. I have to say I thought I was going to fall in love with Berlin, but I didn’t. However, saying that, I would like to go back there to properly explore the city at my own pace. I want to give it a second chance because I think it deserves it.
The next post in this series will be the last one (I know, it’s taken forever!), and then after that I have a post on our recent trip to Barcelona to share with you.