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Old 22 Apr 17, 06:35 PM  
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Join Date: Oct 11
Bier, Bratwurst und Bahnsteige: Day 2

Bier, Bratwurst und Bahnsteige: Day 2

Another good night's sleep and nobody was in a hurry to get up in the morning. However, we don't take the kids on holiday for them to lie around relaxing, so getting up was enforced and the moaning was minimal.

We loved our room and thought it was one of the nicest we'd ever stayed in.

I'd found a cafe for breakfast that looked quite reasonable, so we set off for it once everyone was dressed. However, when we got there, we saw that it had closed down . On the way back to the hotel, we spotted a little cafe offering croissant and coffee for 3 Euros, so stopped off there instead.

After breakfast, which was very nice, we grabbed our stuff from the hotel and headed out to explore more of the city.

The plan was to go back to the Holocaust memorial and visit the Museum which is underneath. We got the train to Potsdamer Platz and walked from there.

The museum is a very matter of fact and very moving history of the Holocaust. The commentary is in both English and German and tells the history of the systematic murder of 6 million people along with pictures and stories of individual lives. I found it very moving and although I knew about the Holocaust, the connection with individual lives really brought it home. One room has snippets from postcards and letters sent by those facing death and is almost unbearable. Another room lists those killed, with a brief biography. To read all the names takes over six and a half years.

One image that really shocked me was a map of Europe with all the sites where Jews were murdered - the sheer number of different places was unexpected.

We were all quite sombre and subdued afterwards - the scale of the lives lost had a real impact on us.

The next stop was the Topography of Terror - the museum built on the site of the former Gestapo headquarters. This is another free exhibition that tells the story of how the Gestapo and the SS became established and the impact that the Nazis had on people's lives. Again the commentary is in both German and English and uses contemporary news stories and photos to tell the story of the Nazi reign of terror.

Again, it was a sobering and difficult experience. One of the images that really stayed with me was of the Auschwitz guards laughing and posing at their relaxation retreat - after spending their working days organising mass murder.

There was also information about what happened at the end of the war. A number of the Nazis chose to commit suicide rather than to face justice but a large number were convicted and either executed or sentenced to jail - but the sentences were quite often reduced. It didn't seem right that so many of them spent so little time in jail considering what they had been part of.

By the end of the museum, we were all pretty much museumed-out, so we walked to Checkpoint Charlie and ate lunch at the Back Factory again. Afterwards, we called to have a better look at Fassbender und Rausch but didn't actually buy any chocolate. At this point, it was snowing outside so we hurried to the nearest station, which is very near by.

Paul wanted to see the Olympic Stadium which was built for the 1936 Olympics, so we caught the train out to it. These Olympics were meant to be Hitler's opportunity to show the world the superiority of German athletes, but he hadn't banked on Jesse Owens winning so many gold medals.

The stadium is a short walk from the station and is quite an impressive building.

We also took the opportunity to pose by the U2 U-Bahn sign, recreating a Joshua Tree like group photo.

We then headed back to the hotel, planning to take advantage of the free afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen. This is on the 7th floor and is a lovely airy space, with free hot and cold drinks, slices of cake and bowls of fruit. We had a lovely snack and as it was quite late, we had the place pretty much to ourselves.

The cake was lovely, particularly a cherry and chocolate cake. While we were there, we planned a short train trip. Partly to get the most out of our day ticket and partly because Paul was loving the S-Bahn in particular and it gave us a good opportunity to see some more of the city. We headed out on a loop that took us to Wannsee and then back into the city, getting to see part of the forest and a lot of very nice houses.

Paul isn't a great smiler, so this is him actually looking pretty ecstatic on a train!

After our train journey, we picked up some more beers from the supermarket and chilled in the room before heading out for Vietnamese food.

Saigon Green was just down the road and had great reviews. It didn't take credit cards and as we were worried about running low on cash, we got some more Euros out. We usually prefer to use the Halifax Clarity Card on holiday as that gives the best rate, but credit cards aren't as widely accepted in Germany, so it made sense to have enough cash.

We had a really lovely meal in Saigon Green - the food was so fresh and tasty and a really nice contrast to the heavier German food we'd been eating in the day. We all had a lovely evening and ended the day watching the Snooker on Eurosport. It felt somewhat strange to be watching an event taking place in our home city of Sheffield but with all the commentary in German!

Edited at 05:03 PM.
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