History Lessons and Cycling Astray

Sun 17 April to Tues 19 April

History, beauty, nature, culture… This is just a handful of what Berlin has offered to us over the past week. On Sunday morning we rode the red and yellow S-Bahn train with Nadia and Boelie to explore the city centre. After we had meandered through the bustling flea markets on Straße des 17 Juni, we dropped Boelie off at his work and then strolled on for our brief fill of history.

Erected in the late 1700s by the then current Prussian King, our first port of call was Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate). The tall stone columns and mighty statue atop symbolise victory and strength and were greatly juxtaposed against our next stop, the sombre Holocaust Memorial, which called for a stirring reflection on Germany’s more recent darker past. Lastly, in Potsdamer Platz, the very heart of Berlin, we saw a replica of the first ever traffic light in Europe, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a half destroyed church and remnants of the Second World War, and a handful of the 3 metre high concrete and steel rod blocks used for the terrifying wall which once divided this city through the middle. Although the segments of wall, which can be seen standing in various places around the city, represent the harsh reality of the Cold War they are now covered in graffiti with bright colours, often with symbols or words of peace.