An afternoon city tour began with lunch, which took place at the five-star Kempinksi Hotel Bristol and featured sausages with sauerkraut, turkey breast with sauce bernaise, two types of potatoes, vegetables, and apple strudel with vanilla ice cream for dessert. After replenishing our energy, we visited many of the highlights of this impressive empire, including the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust Memorial, Brandenberg Gate, and the Reichstag.
The Brandenberg Gate was formerly used to represent the separation between East and West Berlin. Nearby, the Reichstag is the seat of the German Parliament, one of Berlin’s most historical landmarks. Checkpoint Charlie is the famous Berlin Wall crossing point. To the west we found surviving pieces of the Berlin Wall. I purchased a small piece of the Berlin Wall at a souvenir shop.
A poignant and powerful landmark, the Holocaust Memorial is an everlasting symbol of the struggle of modern day Germany coming to terms with its turbulent history. This place of hope in the heart of Europe and Germany’s capital features 2,711 concrete slabs also described as a “forest of pillars.” Walking the through the monoliths, one is reminded on the above ground mausoleums that are prominent in New Orleans, Aruba and South America.
Berlin is a major European metropolis boasting a population of 3.5 million residents. The city is divided into 12 districts, each with its own Mayor and City Hall. Some of the architecture was destroyed during World War II, but impressive examples remain and are juxtaposed with modern skyscrapers. We passed by Museum Island and the Hotel Adlon, made famous by the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who dangled his baby from the balcony.