Sunday, July 11, 2010
Sunday July 11
Hard to believe that only a week has gone by since we celebrated July 4th in DC and all met for the first time. it is quite true that we have bonded and become 'family' looking out for one another and enjoying each others points of view.
We had to be out of the hotel by 1 am so Linda and I did not sleep, rather we spent time with Mitch and Nick watching old comedy skits on you tube. The plane ride was long and tiring, everyone slept a little. Leaving Israel was bitter sweet. It is such a special city in a remarkable country.
We changed planes in Frankfurt and arrived to Berlin around 2 pm. They are experiencing a heat wave.Its over 100 degrees F and very sunny. There were a few problems again with luggage as one person's bag was ripped. Finally we arrived at the Berlin hotel, a lovely place that is very close to the center of town. The difference I observed immediately was the Berlin was lush, beautiful, and very European: very different from Israel. They try to conserve ( and rightly so) by having you use your room key to not only open the door but to activate lights and air, so when you leave the room it turns off.
We walked around on our own and ate some local sausage, fries, and some sampled the beer. From there we got daring and began to walk to Brandenburg gate not realizing it was about 4 miles away! We stopped at a statue of Wagner, who was a blatant anti Semite and Hitler's favorite composer: it was strange for me to see a statue erected in his honor. Mitch was determined to get us to the Brandenburg gate which was part of the Wall and now stands as a symbol of unification. Thia was the only opening of the Berlin wall separating East from West. Where we stood was formally East Berlin, we also saw the Hotel Aldon, which is still in existence and was Hitler's favorite hotel.
There was also a pile of shoes that was placed by the UN- I am not sure what they were suppose to represent but I will ask our guide in the morning.
We will be meeting for dinner soon and I will continue and post some new pictures showing the experiences of today.
Tomorrow we really begin our journey back 60 years. We will visit Gurenewald Station where 50,000 Jews were sent to work and death camp, and to Wannsee Conference villa where the Nazi's discussed how to attain the "Final Solution"