(Original itinerary: Tallinn Estonia)
(Secondary itinerary: Visby, Sweden)
(Tertiary itinerary: At Sea)
(Quaternary itinerary: Hamburg (for Berlin))
Final itinerary is still listed as Hamburg (for Berlin), but no Berlin options are offered. Grrr. Interestingly, Princess starts greeting about the EnchantedPrincess as coming soon with all new itineraries. Which it is but as someone ON the ship, I find that frustrating. So… even Princess thinks of this cruise as just a repositioning? Explains a lot actually. #NotWhatISignedUpFor
When our itinerary was for the other port, we had signed up for the excursion to see the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. We expected to get similar options offered since the “standard” posted excursions from Hamburg also include these options in Berlin. Berlin, however, is not on offer. P and I will spend a few hours to go to Neuengamme. S has been to Germany before and saw one then, so she’s passing on another concentration camp visit.
It’s hard to describe today as a good day. The day went from cold to bright and sunny but weather notwithstanding, one does not “enjoy” a day visiting a concentration camp. We are only there for a few hours, actually. Clustered around, classes of German children are here for a day of lessons on site. The lessons are age-appropriate – obviously different when we pass a group of the very small kids vs the high schoolers – but they all learn their history.
According to the guide, born shortly after the war ended, for the first 20-30 years, Germany didn’t talk much about the war or what was done in these places. They wanted to forget it, to erase it. It’s even possible my teachers were involved themselves in the camps, he tells us, so of course they would want to forget, and pretend it didn’t happen. But in the 70s Germany decided that the path to healing and truly ensuring that these things not happen again, was to tell the truth to the next generations.
A vocal minority in America would like us to forget and pretend our own problematic history didn’t happen, or doesn’t matter anymore, or is too upsetting to learn accurately. Yes, there are hard things to hear. But how do we build a clear future if we build it on half-truths? How can we continue to be a world leader and a good global citizen, without fully understanding that we have reason to temper pride with humility?
Afterwards we drive around Hamburg seeing the sites. It’s a pretty city – but we are all worn out emotionally.
It’s a lovely day and a pretty city but it’s nice to get back to the ship to unwind.
Tomorrow is an at-sea day. We’ll have to figure out how to fill our time.