Biking Berlin

European cities have been incredibly bike friendly. It puts Minneapolis to shame. We rented bikes and experienced Berlin on a more intimate level. What a city! So rich in history and more modern than I’d imagined. Here are some things we came across:

– In Germany (and every other country we’ve visited so far) it’s legal to drink on the streets and even the trains. But the number of people drinking really struck me in Berlin. At night it seemed as if EVERYONE was drinking something. Unfortunately, this meant there was a lot of glass all over the streets.

– We took a free walking tour of the city and stood over the bunker where Hitler committed suicide. Today the bunker has been flooded and the land above it is an overgrown parking lot. This unkempt environment is intentional; the government wanted to destroy areas where Hitler followers could visit and pay homage to him.

– I discovered that the Berlin Wall actually enclosed an area within the city – instead of dividing it in half – and that West Berlin existed inside of it, a small pocket of democracy in the middle of communism (hmmm… let’s just say my high school history classes were a bit lacking). While walking along the Berlin Wall we were startled when a concert’s fireworks unexpectedly went off over us. And we thought we weren’t going to see fireworks this July.

– The museum Checkpoint Charlie, while overpriced, provided interesting information about the creative ways people developed to sneak into West Berlin. People escaped using anything from grocery carts, suitcases, Volkswagen Beatles, surfboards, tunnels, airplanes, ziplines, and concert speakers.

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