The Study tour arrived safe and ahead of schedule in Berlin.
The Full report for Thursday, May 10.
When we arrived in Berlin, we were met by our local guide.It was early, only 7:30 AM local time, and most of us only got a couple of hours of sleep on the plane or less.The flight was uneventful, with only some minor turbulence.The bus took us to our hotel after we all had a chance to exchange some dollars for Euros at the airport.Because it was so early, we could not check in right away, so we left our luggage in a secure room at the hotel and Dr. Hayse and Ms. Rosenthal took us on a tour of some of the sights near the hotel.Right outside of the hotel at Alexander Square is the Radio/TV tower built by the East German Communists in the 1960s.We saw the "Red Town Hall", the city hall built in red brick that was named, we heard, for it's red color, but was fitting for the seat of local power in Communist years. We went into the Protestant Church of St. Mary's (Marienkirche), the second oldest, Gothic church in Berlin, and lit some candles.
After checking into our rooms (modern and comfortable but SMALL!) and getting a little rest, we walked to the banks of the Spree River and took a river cruise though the historic heart of Berlin.We saw the buildings of the useum Island, Berlin Cathedral, and the many new structures built to house the German government in reunited Berlin. Especially impressive was the Reichstag (parliament) building, which burned down in 1933, giving the Nazis an excuse to impose a dictatorship.
After the cruise, we had dinner in an outside garden (Restaurant Paddenwirt) in the historic old city of Berlin, destroyed during the war and by Communist policy in the 1950s, but rebuilt in the 1980s.By the time dinner was done, we were all ready for bed!It was a short 15-minute walk back to the hotel, although some people stopped to buy souvenirs or to to try for internet access at Starbucks.