From early in my life, I had heard stories about The Cold War, East Germany, and the East and West Berlin separation. I recall my uncle, a U.S. Army officer, telling stories about his adventures while stationed in Germany in the 1950’s. Later, his son (my cousin Bobby) was stationed in Berlin at the time the wall fell in 1989. I remember talking with Bobby at one of our reunions about the simultaneous jubilation and discord in those early November days in 1989. But I had always had this sense of trepidation and unease when it came to traveling to former Communist countries. So, I never took the opportunity to explore to the “east.”
Even with all my travels, I had never visited Berlin… until today. I boarded the ICE high-speed train in Hamburg. At speeds up to 218 kph, was transported to Berlin in just over one hour and thirty minutes. Not being in a rush, I took my time in the Hauptbanhof train station. I even sat down with a Starbucks coffee and my guidebook to get a feel for the city. After walking out the wrong side of the station, checking my bearings with “Google Maps”, and readjusting my course, I struck off down Invaliden Strasse into the former East Berlin. I was immediately faced with detours and construction on the street and sidewalks causing me to cross from one side of the street to the other. However, with a little persistence, I managed to navigate the stretch to my hotel in about thirty minutes.
My hotel is wonderful! Recently, I’ve been using booking.com to research and book my hotels. The “Hotel i-31Botique Hotel” has 113 brand new and modern rooms with all the perks.
After chatting with the front desk clerk, I learned the “Berlin Wall Memorial” was just 200 meters behind the hotel. So, after settling in to my room, I ditched my bags and went out to explore the “Berlin Wall” all of which I will share with you in my next blog entry.
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