View as we drove away.
The hotel in in the former American sector. I took the picture where the wall stood. It's not that far, but East German boats patrolled the river with orders to shoot to kill.
A whole in the wall. The death zone is visable before the river and the other side of the river was the American side.
Today was a day that exceeded expectations. I had an early breakfast and was on the bus for the Berlin tour by 8:00. We drove to Berlin down the autobahn into what used to be the American sector, passing through checkpoint bravo. There are still remnants of the checkpoint standing. Our first stop was the Reichstag. I saw many things that I saw on Friday but this time our guide Andres gave the history and several insights into the reasons that shaped events in the 1930’s. E.g. It is widely accepted but can’t be proven that the Nazis started the fire that burned the Reichstag in 1933. This enabled Hitler to consolidate his power and really started his rule. Andres had before and after pictures of the Brandenburg gate, the Reichstag and the wall. We spent a majority of the time in Berlin in what was the East German section. I saw a section of the wall that is being preserved as a National monument that has been decorated by various artists that were invited by the gov’t to display their artwork. This part of the wall faces what was the American Sector. It has a river as a natural barrier. East German boats patrolled the river and there was a watchtower every 500 meters. They had orders to shoot to kill if anyone was in the river or in the dead zone (the area between the wall and the river) After visiting the wall we proceeded on to what was Checkpoint Charlie. There are several museums and a lot of posters depicting the events that happened from 1961 to 1989. It was really very moving. You could feel the tension that must have existed during that time. There was a replica of the checkpoint in the middle of the street manned by men dressed as American soldiers, and there were the bricks in the street as a reminder of where the wall stood. We had lunch in a restaurant that recreated Berlin in the 1920’s. Very good meal of chicken, liquid bread (beer) and apple cake. After lunch we headed to Potsdam. First stop was a palace of Fredrick ll. He was responsible for making the German plant potatoes. This saved the population from starvation during war time when conquering armies would burn the fields. The palace was his “man cave” and women were not allowed. Voltaire spent 3 years there as his guest. After the palace we went to a castle where the Potsdam conference was held. Very very interesting. Pictures of Truman, Churchill, and Stalin. Then Churchill was defeated and his successor took his place. Learned about the protocol of how each nation was treated as an equal. We then headed back to the boat for a wonderful dinner.
Our home for a week
Our home for a week