We are back at home in San Francisco. Jet lag is getting the best of me so I thought I'd post a final entry. Our last stop on the tour was Berlin. We arrived at the main train station wide-eyed at the modernity of it. It was like a giant shopping mall with trains running through it.All of Germany has a really rich history but Berlin in particular has had some major events in the recent past. The City is in a constant state of change and construction due to their reunification efforts since the fall of the Berlin Wall.We visited the Museum at the site of Checkpoint Charlie. Its focus is to describe life during a split Germany. The museum itself is kind of cluttered but it tells many interesting stories of escape attempts and the exuberance of the people after the Wall came down. Time for a little lunch break. Learning about history sure makes you hungry. Luckily they pour really big glasses of wine!The next morning we went to see the Reichstag building. In 1933, an arsonist set the building on fire ushering in a new era of Nazi rule. You can still see some of the burn marks.Above the columns, it says "Dem Deutschen Volken" or "For the German People". The family of the person who engraved it died in the holocaust. Today it is back in business as the offices of Parliament.
One of the last things we did in Berlin was go to the stylish Jewish Museum. It recounts Jewish life in Germany starting from the beginning of recorded history. The building itself is a monument to the millions of lives lost due to the persecution of Jews throughout time. One particularly intense display was a vast empty room with thousands of metal "faces" on the ground that clanged when you walked over them. We will never forget.So our time in Europe comes to an end. It was great traveling with a good friend and I feel like I really learned a lot! I will remember the delicious food, the kind people, and the madness of human behavior.