The long day 7 drive through the concession area was a slow, difficult, and at times uncomfortable (very steep terrain mixed with heavy rains) journey. As we arrived and searched out a campsite, the clouds began to clear and we were treated to a spectacularly beautiful double rainbow sunset over the camp. We were now as far out of touch from the rest of the modern civilized world as I have ever been. Over dinner our guide Sasha described the “lion” protocol for the camp (imagine him telling us this at night as light from the small fire flickered on half of his face): Never leave your tent alone at night. Need to pee? Take the bucket from outside your tent door into your tent, pee, put the bucket back outside of the tent. Need to do a #2? Wake the three men up and walk as a group to the makeshift toilet as you scan the surroundings with headlamps for reflective “eyes” around camp. Hear something at night creeping outside your tent? Don’t move, make a noise, or turn on your light. Do not call for anyone. Follow these rules, and you likely will not get eaten. We all slept great after that. And for the record, we did hear some hyenas not too far from camp as we were falling asleep.
This is my favorite photo from the entire trip. Click to see it in full resolution!
The Brandenburg Gate (1791), is an 18th-century neoclassicaltriumphal arch and the grandest and last survivor of the 14 original arches of Berlins Old City Wall. It is crowned with a four Horse chariot with the Goddess of Peace at the reins. During its existence, it has often been a site for major historical events
When the Nazis ascended to power, they used the gate as a party symbol. The gate was heavily damaged during World War II and was one of the last structures still standing in the Pariser Platz in 1945.
Traffic passed freely through the gate until the Berlin Wall was built Aug 1961. During post-war Partition of Germany, the now East Berlin gate was isolated and inaccessible adjacent to the Berlin Wall. In June of 1987, Ronald Reagan gave a speech at the Brandenberg Gate and challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!”
When the Revolutions of 1989 occurred and the Berlin Wall fell Nov,1989, the gate symbolized freedom and the desire to unify Berlin. Thousands gathered there to celebrate its fall. Today it is considered a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace.