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Published: September 26th 2013
We couldn’t call ourselves truly world travelers without taking this exceptional trip once in our lifetime…the earliest, the better. And what’s better for a Dad than doing it with his two teenagers, knowing this experience should remain with them for their life…and could shape their own future travel patterns once they become independent adults.
Is having the chance of taking amazing trips at a young age shaping a future of more extraordinary discoveries…here, only time will tell…
But for now on, it’s time for us to head back to Asia. I left Congo after two great weeks, feeling at home in Lubumbashi, and more and more at ease with the capital, Kinshasa. The trip back to Luxembourg was not the shortest, or the most comfortable. I reached Luxembourg just on time to finish some paperwork shipped in the direction of Hong Kong, took a shower…run few last minute shopping….and head to pick up Leslie and Tiffany at school. Their three weeks of “shall we call this school…or school tourism”…are over. They had a great time, discovering another culture through school, making few friends…and spending two great months with their Grand-parents…
And here we are…on a crazy
trip...well, at least if you consider doing this with teenagers…lugging some of our bags to settle back in Bangkok…over the next 5 weeks, we are going to take the train, and few buses…all the way to Shanghai….and yes…or no…I’m not yet insane! And before you ask, this is not the Orient-Express….but rather the Trans-Manchurian…as the Transiberian, would lead us to Vladivotsok…but that’s another story.
We board a local train in Trier…direction Saarbrucken…awaiting 40 minutes, in the late evening for our night train to Berlin. Our 6-berths cabin was already crowded with three French Erasmus students heading for the middle of nowhere 100km after Berlin. That was a crowded compartment!
We made it by 11am to our hotel not that far from Postdamer Pl. Dropped the bags, brushed our teeth, and on to discover Berlin…on foot, for the next 29 hours.
Berlin is a truly exceptional school field trip. There is more to learn here in 24 hours…than sitting a full week in any classroom…..as long as you are ready to walk a little. You dream about 20th
Century history, this is your Nirvana!
I came here back in
1994 for my first and only visit…well… we stay for 3 days just outside Berlin and spent a full day in the city. I was a student, and at that time, involved in some politics, we were working on the future treaties of the construction of the European Union. Well….it was also there that I did my last venture into politics as a student…I was not ready to have to wait years just to have things happen, I wanted to conquer the world way earlier…it was not about power, it was about discoveries…but here too, it’s another story….
So this time, in 29 hours, I was going to show Tiffany and Leslie some serious lessons the 20th
Century brought us. There is a lot more to see and discover in Berlin. We saw a lot, but still saw so little…maybe one day they’ll be back…to party…and to visit way beyond what we did…consider this as an appetizer. But to have a proper appetizer, this one needs to be…diversified!
We visited Charlie’s check point and his museum. We spent time at the Palace of Tears, a former border post in Berlin East where people were
boarding trains to Berlin West. We saw the Bundestag and climb to the Dome after dark. We saw Brandenburg Gate by day, and night.
We also spent time at the Holocaust Memorial. I wanted to visit the Memorial Center, but at the entry, they told us it was seriously not advised for kids below 14…and they seemed pretty serious! Next time! We also spent time at the Topography of Terror, the Museum explaining some of the SS and Nazi atrocities.
Beside the 20th
Century history, we also spent a morning at the Pergamon Museum. This place was so highly ranked that I didn’t want to miss it. They had not only the Pergamon Altar (Turkey), but also the Ishtar Gate from Babylon (Iraq), as well as an impressive collection from the Near East and Islamic Art. Great place to spend a full morning.
And obviously, we spent time chasing the former Berlin Wall. After all, I was 16 when it finally went down...and being already seriously motivated by geography and history…the Berlin Wall fall in December 1989 will always remain, for many of us, one of those great moments in history.
It is interesting to note that most of the Wall is today, gone…which is a good thing, but need some walking to get to those places were part of the Wall remains.
It was already time to leave Berlin. Leslie was much more ready for what he witnessed, understanding way better what did happen in the 20th
Century. Let’s hope Tiffany has learnt something, and that she will remember some others…
The next few weeks won’t be on a beach, they will open for these two kids pages of history and geography…and maybe a little more…
Next stop…you already know….the trick for me will be to try to keep you informed…without too much delay…
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