Germany: Day 5

A blessedly late wake-up call led to a leisurely breakfast in our hostel. By 9:30, though, all were ready to take in the sights on another of Mr Hornor’s patented walking tours. Passing the shell of the Anhalter Bahnhof, we arrived at Potsdamer Platz, formerly the pre-war hub of the city, now home to rings of aggressively modern buildings. After kitschy photos with remaining chunks of the Berlin Wall, we followed the wall’s former path to the Holocaust Memorial. After spending time wandering its unsettling and evocative pathways, the group discussed its meaning, its reception and, ultimately, its effectiveness as a memorial. With the American Embassy squatting next door to the Holocaust Memorial, we passed its heavily fortified perimeter to see the Brandenburg Gate, one of the most iconic symbols of Berlin. Just around the corner, we contemplated the stony solidity of the Reichstag building topped by its glassy, transparent dome. An Italian lunch re-energized the group for a walk to Checkpoint Charlie and its guard post, now comfortably ensconced in an aggressively commercial area. A subway ride back to the hostel gave the group a couple of hours of rest and homework time. Dressed again in their finest garb, the group dined on Greek food at a neighborhood restaurant before taking the subway again to the Philharmonie, where, seated right behind the orchestra, we listened to works by Strauss, Liszt, Chopin, and Wagner.

Anhalter Bahnhof
Potsdamer Platz
Again, Potsdamer Platz
Remaining chunks of the Berlin Wall
Red means Stop!
Straddling the ghost of the Berlin Wall in the most conspicuous way possible
Holocaust Memorial, with the American Embassy and the Brandenburg Gate in the background
Holocaust Memorial
Holocaust Memorial
Checkpoint Charlie – 1961
Checkpoint Charlie – 2019

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