Berlin has an incredible history just within the 20th century. This makes it an appealing and fascinating destination for people from all over the world. It’s a history that feels accessible to us since only 90 years ago, Adolph Hitler was making his move in Berlin with the rise of the Nazi Party and the Third Reich. The subsequent war ended with a crushing invasion of Berlin by 1.5 million Soviet troops and Hitler’s suicide in his bunker here. Then the city, and all of Germany was divided up by the victorious allies, kicking off the Cold War with the Soviets eventually building a wall that would divide Berlin. When the wall came down in 1989, Germany was reunified and there was a huge rush of development in the former East Berlin.
The Dachau Concentration Camp was the first of the Nazi camps opened which was intended to hold political prisoners. It was the camp that was in operation the longest from March 1933 until April 1945. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory about 10 miles northeast of Munich. Opened by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was expanded to include forced labor, and eventually, the imprisonment of Jews and foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded.
Over the 12 years of use as a concentration camp, the Dachau administration recorded the intake of 206,206 prisoners and deaths of 31,951. Crematoria were constructed to dispose of the deceased. Visitors may now walk through the buildings and view the ovens used to cremate bodies, which hid the evidence of many deaths. In early 1937, using prison labor, the SS initiated a expansion of the camp facilities to support 6,000 prisoners. After 1942, the number of prisoners held there regularly exceeded 12,000 giving rise to extremely unsanitary conditions. Typhus epidemics became a serious problem as a result of overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, insufficient provisions, and the weakened state of the prisoners.
For visitors there are extensive exhibits including stories of some of the prisoners who were brought to Dachau. There is a reconstructed barracks building to give visitors an idea of how the prisoners were housed. On the day we visited, the weather was cold and raining. Somehow this set the right mood for a place with such a dark and torturous history.
We chose to spend the Labor Day holiday period in Cheyenne, WY, the capital city for Wyoming. In Cheyenne, we were parked at A.B. Camping.
The location that became Cheyenne, was originally the site chosen as the point at which the Union Pacific Railroad would cross Crow Creek, a tributary of the South Platte River. Once the railroad was completed, Cheyenne grew rapidly. Today, Cheyenne is still a very important rail hub. In Holliday Park you can see one of the eight surviving world’s largest steam locomotives, nicknamed “Big Boy”.
It was a short drive for us to relocate to Northern Virginia to continue our visit with Valerie’s sisters. Here we parked at Bull Run Regional Park, a large community park with huge open areas, large picnic pavilions, a waterpark and a nice wooded campground. It is located in Centreville, VA, just off I-66 about 30-40 minutes west of Washington, DC.
Northern New Jersey (Newark/New York City) is not very RV friendly. There are not many campsite/RV park options that will get you close to NYC. Also, since many of the roadways in this area are older, you have to try to plan your driving route to avoid low clearances as well as tunnel and bridge restrictions. But we didn’t want to completely bypass NYC.