Monday, September 05, 2016

Reflections on Berlin - they really do wait for the green lights! #118

Now that I am back home after my first ever trip to Berlin I can reflect on four days in a wonderful city. Berlin is a very historic place with lots to see and do - and I think Roma and I did it justice in our four days there. Having been to Germany very few times (just twice on short business trips to Dusseldorf, and Heidelberg), I was looking forward to seeing this modern city that was a completely to what I heard on the news as I grew up.

There is lots of emphasis on the past - the Wall features prominently and makes for very popular tourist attractions. I remember well the night the Wall came down from in front of my TV set in Dublin - it was wonderful to finally see it. Thanks to the brilliant U Bahn we were able to get about very easily, though we did walk a lot (65,710 steps according to the Fitbit App on my phone (30.6 miles). We never got to Potsdam or to cycle around the city - there has to be a next time.

We visited several museums with the Story of Berlin perhaps being the best. The memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is very stark and serene, and still difficult for my generation and younger to comprehend what happened in the 1930s and 1940s Germany. Like everyone else at these memorials I just stood and stared in silence. The surprise of visiting the Reichstag while there happened to be an Open Day was a real treat, including the walk to the top of the dome, and perhaps the highlight of our visit to Berlin.

I had heard in advance that Germans cyclists and pedestrians are very law abiding at red lights - I found this to be true. While not everybody always waited for the green light, most did - even when there was no traffic. I found myself standing at the footpath waiting for the lights rather than the last car to pass (as it should be). We could learn a lot from the Germans.

Finally - I loved the beer! And as far as I could see - so do the Germans. Cheers!

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