Düsseldorf, Germany 1100
Yesterday I hitch-hiked from Amersfort in The Netherlands, to Düsseldorf.
It took me four different rides to get here, one of which spoke no English, so figuring
out where to go was a small problem. Nevertheless, the last guy that picked me up,
dropped me off at the door of the hostel! And so last night I met up with Wiebke and
we went for a few beers and a short tour around the old town of Düsseldorf, which was
fantastic and heaps of fun.
Düsseldorf is located on the Rhine River, which is absolutely huge and very fast flowing
with seemingly infinite numbers of boats travelling all the time. Therefore there
are some great bridges, but given their size they take forever to cross on foot!
6th September 1997
Köln/Düsseldorf, Germany 0100
Last night Wiebke, Caro & I went to a pub in Essen which turned into getting
home at 4am! So today I got up late and caught a train to Köln and saw the amazing
Dom, which some how escaped damage in WWII whilst everything around it was destroyed.
Tonight Wiebke and I went to another pub on the Rhine and had a quiet night.
7th September 1997
Berlin, Germany 0100
Today I hitch-hiked from Düsseldorf to Berlin. It took me six different
rides and nine hours to travel the 550Kms. Two of the drivers I hitched with didn't
speak any English.
So tonight I went to a nightclub called 'Big Eden' which was OK, but nothing spectacular.
I had heard that the clubs in Berlin were excellent... perhaps they are all
underground and I'm obviously not in touch with 'the scene'.
7th September 1997
Berlin, Germany 2350
Wow! Berlin is amazing. I started the day by climbing the TV tower in
former East Berlin. This tower was used to send propaganda to the west side of
Berlin. Today it offers a great view over the city of Berlin.
I also visited the World Time Clock which was built in 1969, then on to see the 'Rotes
Rathaus', the centre of Berlin government. From here I walked to the golden facade
of the 'Palace of the Republic' where Hitler had worked. Now it sits abandoned and
is hotly debated wether it should be knocked down or what to do with it. Apparently
it's walls still house a different insidious danger, in the form of toxic asbestos.
So from here I strolled east, through Brandenburg Tor the critical point in the former
wall, where east and west met through the gate that once was the centre of Berlin.
Today I was fortunate enough to be able to walk through this contentious gate where one
could not have thought of doing so only 6 years ago.
Then I walked on to see the remains of the wall and some of the old watchtowers now
overgrown and derelict. I walked by the Reichstag built in 1894 and currently under
restoration preparing to house the German government when it returns to Berlin from Bonn.
I visited a memorial to some of the people who died trying the cross the wall. Then
walked to the 'Topograhie Des Terrors' an exhibition outlining some of the Nazi war
crimes. It is located next to the former Gestapo/Secret Police headquarters.
And I walked on to Checkpoint Charlie to visit the museum which showed some of the escape
methods used to get from East to West.
I found it a very interesting and emotionally moving exhibition.
In the remaining time today I visited
the 'Kaiser-Wilhelm' church, or what remains of it after it's bombing in World War II.
I also spent some time just walking around Berlin and savouring it's atmosphere.
There is an amazing amount of construction going on in East Berlin, in an effort to
improve the infrastructure to the same level as former West Berlin.
The skyline is a panorama of cranes!
Another interesting feature is the massive void of land, running through the middle of the
city due to the walls former presence. I find it amazing that the German people have
been able to overcome the wall after 28 years of it's oppression and division, to reunite
as one people.
It is an outstanding human achievement and should be highly commended.
I find it an absolutely amazing testament to the German people.
9th September 1997
Berlin, Germany 1415
I am sitting in the Busbahnhof (Bus Station) now waiting for the bus to
Copenhagen, an short 8 hour journey away.
On my way here I saw a supermarket, so I stopped in to pick up some food for the journey
and found it surprisingly cheap! I bought a cake, 3 drinks and a chocolate dessert
for about A$4. Bottles of wine of dubious quality (I assume) were only A$1 and
bottles of vodka A$5!!!!
What a disappointment I couldn't carry any more with me!
Catch the bus & ferry to Denmark with me
Click here to travel to southern Germany with me later in my trip
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