Checkpoint Chuck..y’all want fries with that?

We began with best intentions yesterday. A walk along the canal to Checkpoint Charlie and then the Jewish Museum. We got as far as the canal before Susie’s legs cried enough. I’ve termed it ‘holiday burnout’. We’ve been away almost a month and walking around each day for most of that time. So, we found a taxi with a really friendly driver who dropped us off at Checkpoint Charlie…

It’s horrible…A schmaltzy, overblown tourist spot that has lost most of it’s past significance. Two actors posing in US military uniform and carrying flags will happily pose for photos with you. Beggars on every corner will hassle you for money. KFC, MacDonalds and Starbucks offer to relieve you of your Euros whilst you take in the view. The whole setting has a surreal quality to it, like a film set. True there are exhibits about the wall to see and some old photos, showing what it was like but…..

Anyway, we walked away as quickly as our fatigued legs would allow us towards the Jewish Museum. It was a tad further than we thought but very much worth seeing.

You couldn’t find a sharper contrast to what we’d seen earlier. A thoughtful stark interior, that to me echoed, sadness, loss, isolation and despair. In some ways it was more moving than Auschwitz, as you were in touch with peoples personal stories through the exhibits. It’s good that Berlin and Germany have not forgotten their past but that they have remembered it too….

We made our way, at snails speed back towards the apartment. I found a short cut through a park. It was filled with cyclists speeding home from work, young people jogging and families playing with their children, enjoying a warm late summers evening. A perfect way to end our day…

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