Berlin, March 2023

A four nights guided walking holiday with Ramblers Holidays.


Photo Gallery

Day 1 (Monday 20th March)

Having arrived in Berlin this morning, we did a local walk to get to know the local area, which used to be in communist East Berlin.
We had a kebab in Friedrichstrasse and then did a walk around some of the grand old buildings, such as the Berliner Dom (photo) and the Rotes Rathaus.
Our hotel was the Kastanienhof, a family owned business.

Day 2 (Tuesday 21st March)

We had a local guide, Alex, today showing us the remnants of the Berlin Wall, very little of it still stands.
The photo shows a stretch which has been fenced off, with original electric fence and concrete wall sections in-situ.
About 30 or so people were shot while trying to cross the wall or the Spree River from East to West Berlin.
Our first view of the Reichstag, rebuilt after the war with a glass viewing dome.
We were set to return here the following day to go up to a viewing area surrounding the dome.
We arrive at the Brandenburg Gate (built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II).
Its construction was completed in 1791.
All 8 of us clients are in the picture - Lawrence, our leader took the photo.

Left to Right:
Rob, me, Liz, Karen, Anne, Carolyn, Terry, Linda.
In the afternoon we took a train to the Botanical Gardens.
As a tourist attraction it wasn't really my cup of tea, but I walked around in the giant greenhouses, looking at the wide range of sub-tropical and tropical trees, shrubs and other flora.
This is a specimen of the famous 'Bird of Paradise' plant.
Day 3 (Wednesday 22nd March)

We took a U-Bahn train to Wannsee, a large lake which is fed by Berlin's River Spree.
Our first stop was Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), followed by another short walk along the lakeside to visit the villa which was used by the Nazis for a conference in January 1942, the purpose of which was to decide how to conduct the deportation and murder of several million Jews throughout occupied Europe.

The Villa Am Großen Wannsee, where the Wannsee Conference was held, is now a memorial and museum.
The trip on the little ferry must be one of the shortest ferry crossings anywhere in the world.
An average person could probably swim the gap from the shore to the island in a couple of minutes.
One of the peacocks strutting its stuff on the island.
A view of the lake at Wannsee.
Nowadays, Wannsee is a wealthy area on the south-western edge of Berlin, close to the town of Potsdam.
The Reichstag again, this time in finer weather and red, gold and black flags flying.
Lawrence had booked a visit to the flat roof and after airport style security we were able to do that.
Amazing that this famous building seen in so many old newsreels was now literally under our feet.
The view from the top of the Reichstag looking west, with the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) in the middle of the horizon.
Day 4 (Thursday 23rd March)

Today we travelled again to the western edge of Berlin to see the Glienicker Brücke (The Bridge of Spies) spanning the River Havel, connecting Berlin with neighbouring Potsdam.
Another view of Glienicker Brücke from the Potsdam side.
On the far side of the Havel River lies Potsdam, where the conference between the Soviet Union and the Western powers carved up Europe and began the Cold War.
One of several palaces in Potsdam was called Sans Souci, where Friedrich the Second went to chill out and have a relaxed social life.
This is the view of the front, which was essentially a giant bungalow with about 14 spacious rooms.
I didn't see a kitchen so assume food was brought in from elsewhere.

After the Sans Souci visit, we stopped at a nice eating place, where I had a huge slice of Chocolate cake and a coffee.

The Potsdam equivalent of the Brandenberg Gate features in the image.
After returning from Potsdam some of us visited the famous, but uninspiring 'Checkpoint Charlie'.
It was the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947 to 1991).
I assume that there were other similar check points, such as Alpha and Bravo.

Just after this a few of us visited the Pergamonmuseum, with its exhibits from ancient Roman and Islamic cultures.

All good things must come to an end.
Fittingly, the last evening meal was, in my opinion, the best of the week.
It was at a German pub-restaurant not far from the hotel.

This is the group, including the leader, together at the meal.
Tomorrow it's off to the airport and back to Blighty.

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