Saturday, July 06, 2024

2024 Viking Homelands - Day #14 - Berlin, Germany

Iconic Sights of Berlin

A Panoramic Tour of Berlin’s Historic Monuments

See the major sights of historic Berlin on this fascinating panoramic excursion by motor coach.

After an escorted train ride, meet your guide at the Berlin train station. Begin with a photo stop at the Berlin Wall and explore the historic St. Nicolas Quarter. Pass Checkpoint Charlie and see the City Hall of Schöneberg, where President Kennedy famously declared, “Ich bin ein Berliner” in 1963. At the Allied Museum, browse the exhibits chronicling the Allied occupation of Berlin between 1945 and 1952. Sample traditional German fare and enjoy a three-course lunch at a local restaurant. After, stop for photos at the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, with its magnificent glass cupola. See the stunning Berlin Cathedral and stop at the Neue Wache memorial, dedicated to the victims of war and dictatorship. After taking time to reflect, return to your ship by train.
A long day. Up at 5:15 am, we had breakfast in the World Cafe. This is quickly becoming my least favorite place on the ship.

We joined a large group in the Atrium for our excursion. Although it is hard to believe, I thought that I heard that 700 of the 900 people on board were going to Berlin. Just after 7:00 am, we walked to a train. Viking had reserved a special train for the trip.

It was a two and a half hour ride to the Berlin. The train didn't have Wifi, but I used my phone as a hot spot to work on the blog entry for Copenhapen. I had a very loud, obnoxious person sitting across the aisle from me.

We were in Berlin just before 10:00 am. We walked to bus and drove to the Allied Museum. It documents the history of the Western Allies (US, France and Britain) in Berlin following World War II, particularly focusing on the period between 1945 and 1994. At best, it is "C" museum. Sharon was able to buy a couple of pins.

Back on the bus, we drove towards the Brandenburgh Gate. It ws built between 1788 and 1791, it was originally a city gate marking the start of the road from Berlin to Brandenburg an der Havel. We started to run into some problems at this point. A EuroCup quarter-final game between Netherlands and Turkey was scheduled for the evening. The town was packed with people, particularly Dutch fans in orange. We were able to get off the bus and see the Brandenburgh Gate, but unfortunately, we couldn't go the Reichstag due to the fan zone.

We had a nice lunch at Braufactum. It included potato salad, sourkraut, salad, sausages and schnitzel with ice cream for dessert.

After lunch, we drove past Checkpoint Charlie, the City Hall and an interesting section of the wall decorated by artists. We got off the bus at Museum Island. We toured the Neue Wache memorial and the Berlin Catherdal. Sharon and I could probably spend two days exploring the museums in this area.

Next, we went to the Berlin Wall Memorial. The memorial includes the last remaining section of the Berlin Wall with its full depth preserved, allowing visitors to see the various elements of the border strip as it existed in the late 1980s. There was a viewing platform that allowed a view into the border strip.

We were back at the train before 4:30 pm. It was an easy two and a half ride back to the ship. I finished the blog entry for Copenhagen and read my book.

Dropping our stuff in the room, we went to the World Cafe for a quick dinner. This turned into a little bit of shit show. It was loud, chaotic and packed with people. We struggled to get the waiter's attention to get the premium wine list. It was a German meal very similar to the lunch. The experience cemented my negative feelings about the World Cafe.

Afterwards, we walked towards the Explorers' Lounge. As we did, we realize that we could have had the same dinner in the Pool Grill in a much more intimate atmosphere; we kicked ourselves.

We finished the evening watching the ship sail away from port. We crashed hard just before 10:00 pm.

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