04.10.2011 - 04.10.2011 25 °C
Tuesday October 4
Full day on a fast comfortable (but not particularly modern) train from Warszawa Central to Berlin. Short stops at Zachodina, Kutno, Konin (home of the inventor of the latex condom - Julius Fromm), Poznan, Swiedbodzin, across the Oder River and the border at Rzepin into Frankfurt (Oder) and on to Berlin.
Landscape very rural with strip farming of canola, maize, lucerne, some cattle in paddocks. Few fences. Individual houses more evident but soviet style apartments in larger towns. Some attempt to keep house blocks neat and tidy.
Approaches along the railway line indicates that Berlin is a bit grubby in terms of litter and graffiti. Arrival at our very modern central station confirms that Berliners are not particularly litter conscious. Our hotel, the very modern and flashy, The Ritz Carlton, is centrally located which will make sight-seeing pretty easy.
The centre of the city where we are is very clean - lots of trees and a very big central park. We had dinner outside just a metre or so from where the Wall was. Hard to believe that just 21 years ago the Wall was taken down. Before dinner we walked to the Brandenburg Gate and to where Hitler's bunker was located. Buildings on the Eastern side of the wall lack the quality of buildings of the same vintage on the western side. Lots of young people out dinning and many bicycles who have right of way over cars. We also visited an amazing monument to the Jews. It is made of concrete blocks in many different rectangular shapes. No words just 2011 blocks of concrete that people can walk or run through. Lots of children playing through the shapes.
Germany now welcomes the return of Jews to the country - many of those returning are young.