On our second day in Berlin we visited Checkpoint Charlie, the Wall, and the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. Starting with an early trip on the U to Checkpoint Charlie we couldn't resist a photo opportunity with two American "border guards" right at the spot where the famous checkpoint stood. We saw Charlie Beach and also spent some time in the nearby Museum. The museum is very big and took quite a while to get around. There are a lot of artefacts to see, and a hell of a lot to read. Many of the stories are about failed and successful escapes, which includes ingenious ways to get from East to West Berlin.
After Checkpoint Charlie we headed on the U to Warschauer to see the largest remaining part on the Berlin Wall. On first view it didn't look all that intimidating. On one side was the usual graffiti, while on part of the other was an exhibition about injured people from war-torn Syria. I remember well November 1989 when the wall finally came down, and the excitement in the West about this barrier to freedom being torn down - it must have been incredible to be actually here when it happened. We had lunch beside the Spree and reflected on the fact that we would not have been able to do this pre 1989.
Again using the U (we are becoming experts) we went to Potsdammerplatz and the nearby Memorial to the Murdered Jews on Europe. This is a poignant series of 2,711 concrete books of different sizes - we are told that the blocks do not represent anything in particular, but that there is a resemblance to a graveyard (on to an Amazon server farm as one American close to me put it). We visited the underground exhibition where in almost total silence people read very matter of fact accounts of the Holocaust. Very moving and probably still difficult reading if you are German.
To get a view of the city we finished our touring for the day on top of the Panoramapunkt, riding to the top in Europe's fastest elevator. You don't see this on the ground, but Berlin is a very flat city. We had a beer and relaxed looking out on top of what was once a sea of rubble just 14 years before I was born. Even the transformation since 1989 must have been incredible to experience for the Berliners who lived through it. Berlin is a fantastic city and I'm looking forward to seeing some more tomorrow.