I visited Berlin in June 2016.
My third day was another big day. On my list of things I wanted to see was the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz. It was the location for the meeting where the leaders of Germany confirmed the ‘final solution’, the plan to exterminate the Jewish race. I had watched the movie Conspiracy and was haunted by the chilling portrayal of the clinical nature of the decision making. I knew I wanted to visit the house while in Berlin.
I left Berlin very early again. Jet lag is great for early starts. Wannsee is just outside Berlin, quite close to Potsdam. Of course, I decided to combine the two. With the house not opening early I was able to have a look around Potsdam for a few hours before visiting Wannsee and then returning to Berlin.
Another landmark I wanted to see was the Glienicke Bridge in Potsdam. It formed the border between West Berlin and East Germany and was used for the exchange of spies during the cold war. The bridge was featured in the movie Bridge of Spies. So that is where I started.
The train from Berlin was very comfortable and before I knew it I was in Potsdam. A quick peruse of the bus schedules and I found the bus I needed to be on to get to the bridge which I was able to photograph in the early light. The view across the lake was quite beautiful.
My next stop was Sanssouci. The simple description of Sanssouci is that is it a huge park full of palaces. Seriously. There seemed to be yet another every time I changed direction. And sculptures, lots of them too. I only had an hour or so to explore so I didn’t make the most of this delightful place but still saw so much.
I’m sure there is so much more to see in Potsdam but I was keen to get to Wannsee for the real purpose of my day so I headed back to Potsdam station and took a train and bus to the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz.
The house is in a beautiful setting on a lake. It is set up as a museum and like all German war museums is brutally honest about its place in history. The are many displays and I highly recommend a visit to anyone who has a keen interest in World War II history. The contrast between the beautiful setting and the horror depicted inside was not lost on me.
Mission accomplished I headed back to Berlin for a late lunch.
My next stop after that was the DDR Museum. It gives you an insight into what life was like living in communist East Berlin and was good value to fill an hour or so. Some of the displays didn’t look too different to growing up in 1970s Australia, and the subversiveness displayed was amusing at times. Though, having read the compelling Stasiland by Anna Funder I was under no illusion about how oppressive the time was.
My final major destination was the East Side Gallery. This is a residual part of the Berlin Wall that has been taken over as a site of fabulous graffiti and street art.
With everything on my list crossed off it was time for some food and a wander through the nearby neighborhood, full of fabulous sights and smells, a really diverse part of Berlin.
I finished the day with a quiet dinner at an Indian restaurant. The food in Berlin was so diverse and fabulous. While German, it is very much an international city and has an exciting, yet relaxed vibe. I truly enjoyed my stay there and would love to return one day.