Even though Berlin is nowhere near the north coast of Germany, it was the first city in our cruise itinerary. Our day “in port” involved a 3-hour bus ride from Warnemunde, where our ship actually docked, to Berlin, taking a 5-hour walking tour, followed by a 3 hour bus ride back to the ship.
For this Cold War history buff, being in Berlin was, even if just for a few hours, a dream come true. We saw, or glimpsed from the bus window, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the 1936 Olympic Stadium (whose bell I wrote about in my book), Checkpoint Charlie, and the remnants of the Berlin Wall.
One of the most moving spots was a fence near the site of the Berlin Wall that commemorates those killed trying to escape over the wall. The last victim was killed in May of 1989, only 6 months before the wall collapsed.
An excellent book about how the wall came down is The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall, by Mary Elise Sarotte.
I wonder if there’s ever going to be any kind of memorial for all the people who have been – and continue to be – killed in an area of the world that’s very close to my heart. Seems like I cry every time I get news from there.