It may seem a bit far to drive all the way to Berlin to visit the Jordanian embassy, but when that happened to be based in Berlin and we didn’t have time to apply for visas by mail before we left Sweden and we were anyway going through Berlin, that’s what we did. We came flying in out of breath the same afternoon that we reached Berlin just before the embassy’s closing time after having parked the Landcruiser in the only little gap we found. With a lot of other things on our mind the last few days, we realized that we would not seem very well prepared just rushing into the embassy. The consul’s secretary sighed with a laugh over our thousand questions before she sent us out on the town again. No visas until we had transferred money to the embassy’s bank account. The next day we were able to come back and pick up our visas, so fresh that we weren’t allowed to close the passports because the ink was still drying. We can go to Jordan, woohoo!
Jordan was among the countries in our original route, when the idea was to drive all the way to Africa. But when the situation in Syria deteriorated while we were preparing for the trip, we had to look for alternatives. Now the plan is a weeklong boat trip on a cargo ship between Italy and Israel – but we added Jordan to the route again. There’s too much to see and do there for us to leave it out, both untamed deserts and historic sites. While we’re anyway out driving, you know.
We stopped in Berlin for just over three days, partly to keep up with some practical things like visas and other things and also to get to see a bit of the city. Brian had never been there before, I had been there when I was 9 years old. Despite pretty lousy weather and a lack of internet access, we enjoyed the city a lot. It turned out to be a music festival in town and the campsite that we had planned to stay at was full. We ended up instead on what could be called a backyard in central Berlin, full of campers and caravans. We lowered the average age and raised the action level considerably when the Landcruiser joined the motorhomes and we got many nice comments, compliments and curious looks.
The day before yesterday we went out to the north of the city for a visit to what remains of the concentration camp Sachsenhausen. The night before we had been talking about the country’s history and were reminded of our different backgrounds. While I have spent hundreds of hours in school reading about the World War II and the Holocaust Brian knows just the basics. He would, however, be able to tell you everything there is to know about the Boer war with the Chaka Zulu – something that was hardly even mentioned when I went to school.
I visited Sachsenhausen as a 9 year old and it made a very strong impression on me. Back in school, it was Show And Tell on a Friday afternoon and I got to talk about what I had seen. I don’t know if it was because it was interesting, or if I simply had so much to say, but there wasn’t enough time and I got to continue talking the following Monday morning. Now, with 20 years more of life experience, knowledge and insight into what really happened the experience was, if possible, even more horrific. For Brian, who had not already read all the facts books, seen all school documentaries and heard survivors talk about their experiences, it was also a very strong experience. To him, most of it was news. He was really stunned by it all. It was hard to stop thinking about how many people suffered, hungered and died in this place – just where we were standing. A single thought kept running through my head, I think it is a title of a book about the Holocaust; May we never forget. Yet it has happened again, and again. You just can not understand.
This was the first blog post that I simply translated from a Swedish original version meant for my blog at dn.se – we’ll see how it works, or if I will have to write two separate blog posts in the future. There are lots more photos to see! Go to Photos up in the main menu and you’ll find a category called Germany and under that one called Sachsenhausen. I will try post a bunch of photos from each country that we pass through. Enjoy!