Next it was on to Berlin, the starting point of our 9 day Contiki tour. I haven’t been on an organised tour previously but Katrina has. Katrina and I picked this tour together as both of us really wanted to go to Prague.
I was pretty excited about going to Berlin, partly because I was curious about how an organised tour would work but mostly because I was excited about going to Germany.
We flew by Air Berlin which is supposedly a German budget airline. That airline was more comfortable than our long haul flight via Qantas to the UK!
We arrived in Berlin and checked into our hotel with plenty of time to spare. We met up with our tour group in one of the meeting rooms just before dinner. Our tour guide’s name was Alli and she was from Australia. She/We expected our tour group to be made up of predominantly Australians but there were a lot of people from the US, Canada and New Zealand.
After ‘roll call’ and introductions, we headed into town for a traditional German meal of schnitzel and potatoes. Katrina had the vegetarian option and was given a rather odd looking plate of pasta. It looked like grits but I’m pretty sure it was made out of bread.
The next day we were taken around the city via the Contiki coach and given a rundown of all the main sights. Our first stop was the old Berlin wall, followed by a visit to Brandenburg gate and the Reichstag.
We were dropped off at Alexander Platz for some free time. The girls and I walked around the city and had tea/coffee at a café facing Berliner Dome. I was sitting opposite Georgina who had her back to the Berlin Cathedral and I had a major ‘pinch me’ moment. The sun was shining and I couldn’t believe I was so far away from home, sitting at a café in Europe with 3 wonderful friends from Perth.
We were given the option of going to the Sachsenhausen Concentration camp in the afternoon. It is the first concentration camp I’ve been to.
It was used mainly for political prisoners and was meant to set the ‘standard’ for other concentration camps.
A tragic place indeed and visiting it made me realise how important it is to understand our world history.
That evening, we were taken on a night spy tour.
The tour guide was an American history student who had lots of interesting and sad stories about the war.
After our tour he took us to a couple of pubs, finishing the evening at a nightclub.
The next day we went on a city walking tour, covering Hitler’s bunker, Jewish memorial, Bebelplatz (where the Nazis burnt books), the Royal Palace and Checkpoint Charlie.
I highly recommend a visit to the Jewish memorial.