Berlin, Germany – words that commonly appear as a subtitle in an Indiana Jones movie. I bring that up because when we discussed our trip to Berlin, many of my non-travelling friends in Canada associated it with tragic events occurring between 1914 and 1945. Which is a shame, this is a city with a rich history that extends way beyond that terrible era and has rebuilt itself from the ashes into one of the greatest cities in Europe. It has much to offer any traveler.
From the imposing Bradenburg Gate to Museum Island and the Berlin Cathedral there is a lot to take in.
We always do a lot of research before we travel, we try to learn everything we can about a destination so we don’t miss something great. Still no matter how much reading you do in advance there are always pleasant surprises, which though unexpected are forever remembered. In Berlin it was the bears. And no I don’t mean the Haribo gummy bears, though you’d be forgiven for guessing that, mmmmmm. No I am talking about the “Buddy Baers”.
We noticed the first one of these guys ‘raising the roof’ just outside our hotel, but at the time did not realize they were part of a larger group.
It didn’t take long for us to be enlightened – they are everywhere. If you want an overview of the ursine population in Berlin there is a handy map at http://www.visitberlin.de/en/spot/buddy-bears.
Originally created as a part of the Buddy Bear Show in 2001 there were 350 of them in 4 different poses. Many have since been spread around the city, now welcoming visitors to private residences and places of business. It was a lot of fun trying to spot new ones and the variety is amazing.
A number of the original bears have been on a world tour since 2002 as the United Buddy Bears – promoting peace and tolerance. They have appeared in many countries including Egypt, Australia, Brazil and many others. They have even visited North Korea, though the effectiveness of their message in this particular country may be up for debate.