Well rested after another great nights sleep, we headed into town via coffee & breakfast, jumping off the train at Alexanderplatz and finding Fat Tires office almost straight away.
We have used them before in Paris, bike tours being a great way to see the sights and gain orientation of the city, all whilst learning a bit of history along the way.
Our tour goes for about five hours, covering off most of the important landmarks and sites of historical significance.
We meet our tour guide dude Randall, who hails from Brisbane, get kitted up, and away we go.
Most of the ride covers the old Eastern side of Berlin, which seems to have more interest, starting with a great example of how not to marry up buildings which survived the bombings of WW2…soviet style styling!!
Down to the Bebelplatz, site of the Nazi book-burning madness of 1933…
Through Potsdamer Platz,
And on to probably the most significant site of the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie. Even though the checkpoint is only a replica, the real one housed in the museum, its still a pretty impressive monument to the madness of the times. Trying to image the wall, the death strip, and the paranoia is a little surreal today, but must have been horrendous in its day.
From there to a section of the wall still standing, with the Topography of Terror memorial site just behind, which we will visit on Thursday.
We passed an old lookout tower on the old wall from which guards were instructed to ‘shot to kill’ and brave soul attempting to cross the wall from East to west.
Then on a lighter note we stopped in the car park of a block of flats, a block which was meant to highlight the might of the East in all its architectural sophistication, but in reality is an ugly, drab mass of concrete and asbestos.
However, that wasn’t why we were there. We were standing on top of Hitlers bunker, and the site of his suicide and cremation, as well as most of his senior staff, including that most charming of men, Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minister and all round arsehole
The site of the death of one of the most infamous people in history is now an ugly car park!
Ironically, our next stop was the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, a huge site the size of a city block, made up of rows and columns of concrete blocks of various heights, with cobbled pathways meandering within. It’s quite disorienting, which I guess is its intention. We’ll come back on Thursday and spend more time here, and at the museum.
So…on to the Brandenburg Gate, Germany’s most famous monument,
Then through the massive Tiergarten Park to a beer garden for lunch…and a beer, natch!
Refreshed, we checked out the Victory column,
Passed the presidents official residence, which was actually very nice, and the flag means el presidento is home.
On to the Reichstag building, home to Germany’s parliament.
Then…museum island, home to probably the most famous galleries in town, and a UNESCO world heritage site. We are planning to spend more time here tomorrow.
Finally…finished. Phew, a long tour, but excellent!
Time to go home, refresh and head out for a lovely Sicilian dinner a block away, to celebrate some old farts birthday!