Homelands Cruise – Berlin, Germany

Day 15 – Aug 3, 2022

We got up super-early for our 12-hour excursion in Berlin. A long day, but it was a whopping 150 miles from our port at Warnemunde to the city. Viking chartered a train since most of the ship’s passengers (over 470 of us) were going to Berlin with some extending to other excursions. While it was a logistical challenge to get everyone there and back on time, Viking did a fantastic job organizing it, as usual.

It was only a 5-minute walk to the train station from the ship

We all boarded an electric train for the 2.5-hour ride to the city. Arriving at Berlin’s central station in Hauptbahnhof, we were met by our tour guides and loaded into a huge caravan of motor coaches to begin our narrated tour at the starting point downtown:

I took most of the photos below from inside the coach, please pardon the glare 😦

Just playing with reflections…

After an hour or so on the Panoramic City Tour, we were armed with a map to aid our self-guided exploration of the city for 4 hours.  It’s a big walkable city, but the 5+ miles we covered left much of it unexplored.

Konzerthaus Berlin – the meeting place for all of the cruisers to be picked up later

Since it was approaching lunch hour as we began our walk, we immediately stopped at the highly-recommended Augustiner Restaurant.  Of course we had Bavarian sausages with an excellent mustard, a big pretzel, and light and dark german beers to get our heads right!

Like most large cities it was too big and busy for our liking, and we were reminded of a typical large city in the U.S. with all of the noise, graffiti and horrendous traffic.  But on the plus side we were exploring Europe’s most cosmopolitan city filled with an eclectic mix of history, culture and many unique landmarks. It was very exciting to enjoy the German experience:

This German capital is like a living museum. There are reminders everywhere of the city’s painful past. The small Checkpoint Charlie guardhouse is a reminder of the former border crossing between East and West Berlin, and of the Cold War:

What first comes to mind when I think of Germany, or specifically Berlin, is the Berlin Wall. It was the barrier that separated the capital city for almost three decades. There are a few places to see remains of the wall. We visited Topography of Terror, a place of remembrance on the site of the SS central command:

“Topography of Terror” contains the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall in the center of the city
A double-brick line zigzags through Berlin, showing where the wall once stood

Other interesting things we saw – old and new buildings, domes and spires:

It was a long and hot walk on a 90º day, but we had a great time seeing remnants of its dark history and what it has become today, the bustling capital city.

Our arrival back at the port was similar to going through airport security, but much faster

A German feast awaited us on the ship:

The big ships coming and going at the Port of Warnemunde caught our attention…

…and the setting sun finally bid us goodnight, painting an orange hue over the Baltic Sea:

Auf Wiedersehen, Germany!


Next up: Gdansk, Poland

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