The last couple of days in Berlin were spent planning the last portion of our journey. Can you believe that we will be back in Canada in less than two months? It is hard to imagine that we have been travelling for almost 9 months now. We have seen so much. We have experienced so much. And we have missed so much at home. We’ll be coming back to not one, but two new grandchildren. Friends and family have had birthdays and gone on holidays. There have been weddings and retirements. Christmas and New Year’s has come and gone. We head to the Netherlands today and then spend some time in Belgium and France. We meet our friends Kim and Jack in Paris at the end of April and spend May in the UK. Our flight home is May 31 from Dublin to Edmonton. We have so loved this adventure but will be so very excited to arrive home.
We took a break from planning and slipped out for a few hours to see a few more sights before we left Berlin. We took the lift up to the observation deck of the Fernsehtrum Radio Tower. This tower, situated in the Eastern Bloc was used during the Cold War to transmit propaganda and other preapproved programming to the masses. It also tried to block Western radio signals as well, even though it was only partially successful. The views from the panoramic viewing deck were amazing. It was a clear day so we were able to see for miles over the city. Each viewing window had a labelled picture below it detailing the buildings and parks that we were seeing from the deck. We had seen many of the sites from the ground so it was really neat seeing them in perspective to one another from 203 Meters above the surface.
Our last official stop in Berlin was the DDR Museum. This interactive museum lets you experience the lives of East Berliners from the end of the war until the Wall fell in 1989. One of the first items that we saw was a Trabant Car – made exclusively for the East. In fact, I even got in the driver’s seat and through a simulator, drove through the streets of 1960’s East Berlin. Many of these cars did not have brakes, gas gauges or, in some cases, even a radiator but the people that were lucky enough to have one simply kept fixing it over and over again to keep it running. We saw a school room (with actual school work), a grocery store (with very little on the shelves), a movie theatre (which showed mostly propaganda films), a typical apartment (given to a family after several years of waiting), a house of one of the top officials (much nicer than the apartment!), a typical family vacation (many families enjoyed the nudist beaches) and other items from everyday life. We enjoyed this museum because it was a lot of fun. There were lots of kids there and it was a great way for them to learn about an era that existed long before they were born. We would definitely recommend this museum to anyone visiting Berlin.
So, it is that we say goodbye to Berlin and ultimately Germany. While in Berlin, we could see from day to day that spring was arriving as the trees were beginning to turn green and flowers started to poke up through the ground. The view from the train window today has been many green fields, acres of cattle and horses and even a few sheep here and there. Yes, spring has definitely arrived in Europe.
Col taking the Trabant for a test drive through old East Berlin.
The picture below was from the DDR museum. I thought it was an interesting concept on the electric lawn mower.