|Welcome to the new world order, namely Berlin.
Berlin still carries many scars from its turbulent and horrific past, so much so that the first thing you notice is the lack of old architecture.
The plights of not one but two World Wars and the Cold War to a lesser extent have changed the cityscape of this once proud country forever.
Now Berlin is a new city which is vibrant, exciting and is trying its outmost to move forward but it also acknowledges what they have done in the past and except responsibilty.
Noticeable is the amount of War Memorials, and monuments in dedication to the Jewish People, the Russians who were vital in winnig the war and the British and French.
To appreciate and get a better understanding of this beautiful city I highly reccommend going on a walking tour. They offer a free tour which is fantastic, no catch but if you enjoyed yourself then the guide wont turn back any tips you may offer.
In the tour I saw remains of the Berlin Wall which ironically had a fench arround it to protect it from the locals who chip parts of it away and sell it to the tourist as memorabilia.....hilarious.
I saw Hitlers bunker, well actually what I actually saw was a car park that we were standing on, the bunker itself is 12m below the ground and once they found it they took over and tried to blow it up with no success, so the Russians eventually filled it up with soil.
Not until the Football World Cup was held in Germany this year was there any indicators to were Hitlers bunker was because the new German people make a conscience effort to hide anything that represents him, but due to outsiders interest they now have put a sign up to indicate were it is.
Another intersting place I went to on the tour was Checkpoint Charlie. Here, Russian soilders from the West could cross over to the East as long as they left their firearms behind and vice versa for the troops from West Germany. But when the Russians refused entry one day to some American troops, well all hell broke out and it almost esculated to World War three.
The story continues were there was a tank stand off between the Russians in West Berlin and the Americans in East Berlin. After 17hrs it was eventually resolved as each tank retreated but as the Russians went back 5ft, the Americans would go back 5ft, no further as they didn't want to seem to be giving up more ground then the Russians. So you can imagine how long it took to get this tanks to retreat back to a safe distance, a bloody long time.
Berlin was never in my orignal plans of travel but it happens to be on the way through to Prague so I thought I would go to where the Kruse name all started from and to see if there were any Germans that have an uncanny resemblance to me.
Well, I didn't have much of a chance of finding a distant family member anyway because my brain wasn't switched on, so due to my lack of brain activity I happened to venture into the womens toilets instead.
As I went to sit down I could hear a girls voice saying, "I don't think he knows that this is the girls toilet". So before I started to drop the 'Cosby Kids to the pool', I escaped ungracefully and apologised thinking I swore the word Herren on the other toilet door meant Hers in German, so I chose Damen instead!
But after being embarresingly caught out I realised that Damen could stand for Dames. Anyway I know now when in doubt ask first before any action is taken.
So the two days I spent here were fun, I learnt a lot about the history of the place and even saw the infamous hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his baby over the Balcony, what a Wacko Jacko!!!
So next stop is Prague and I hope its a far smaller city then Berlin because I thought I would walk back to my hostel after the tour walk had finished. What I didn't plan for was that the location of my hostel on the map was in the wrong place so after a two hour walk when I finally arrived to the exact point the map showed, I realised that I was in the wrong place, so I checked my other map and it not only showed the correct spot were I should go too but that's its 14km away.
Taxi!!! Was the first thing I chased down and he even told me that most people take the tram, buses or trains everywhere in Berlin because it is three times bigger then Paris.
Thanks mate, ill remember that next time when I go to your two national musuems, or two town halls or two national librarys.
I say this because remember when Germany was split into two nations, the East and West well Berlin laid right smack in the middle and therefore both parts of the city share many similar institutions.
So onto Prague I go to celebrate Xmas.