This year’s travels began in Berlin, specifically what was formerly East Berlin. A few blocks from our hotel is the iconic “Checkpoint Charlie,” the point where East and West Berlin met during the Cold War. The area has colored piping that helps to visualize where the Berlin Wall existed. This part of the city is a combination of the old and new, shops beside old churches for example.
After a short visit that included a “Third Reich” day tour concluding with an unexpected sighting of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, we headed on to Poland. After 30 minutes of a very rough road, we merged into a nice highway and the rather flat farmlands of Northwest Poland. We stayed in Krakow more as a base to travel to Auschwitz rather than to tour the city itself. In fact, our hotel was several miles away from downtown. It was quite charming though. We managed to find parking to eat in the Jewish district but were not successful when wanting to see the old section of town or the River Vistula.
Onward to the Czech Republic, specifically Prague. The area was similar to Poland with a few more rolling hills. We stayed in the Old Town and my photos do little to show the beauty of this area, street after street of colorful old buildings.
We traveled from Prague two hours northwest to Dresden, Germany, the site of many bombings from the allies during WWII. I was surprised by how the German people recovered the stones and began restoration of the century years old buildings. Much of it came after the end of the Cold War and still continues today. Again, we were fortunate to find a hotel in the Old Town along the Elbe River.