A Travellerspoint blog

Berlin Germany

A City of Contradiction

Hello from Berlin,

Actually I am writing this on the train and we have already crossed into the Czech Republic but this entry is about Berlin where we have spent the past three days. Berlin is to me a city of contrast. In many ways Berlin is a modern vibrant city with a lot of beautiful architecture, great food and friendly people and at the same time a city with some very deep scars in its past. The good news is that the city seems to be willing to openly examining its past and has erected many monuments and museums to its history leading up to and during World War II. Berlin is also a very socially liberal city and has some very bohemian areas with really fun people. We had always heard about the Berlin Cabaret scene and after some investigation found a very small cabaret that you wouldn’t take your mom to but was very fun. They had comedy, magic, music and a bit of nudity all pretty tastefully done and you got the sense you could have been sitting there hearing these acts in the 1920’s.

The weather has been ideal on this trip. We are beginning to wonder why anyone would vacation during the summer. We were a bit tired of the same old Brats, Schnitzel and beer and decided to go Italian and American food during our time in Berlin. We found great food pretty easy to find and the atmosphere was very nice. Well I feel like I’m rambling which means I should get to the photo’s so here we go……………

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This is photo of the Berlin Cathedral in the distance. Like St. Petersburg Berlin has several rivers that run through the city and in one area they actually form an island that has come to be known as Museum Island for all the museums that are on it.

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This is my funny street scene entry for Berlin. This guy has a gas grill with brats and sausages hanging from those straps around his neck and of course an umbrella to keep him in the shade. Kind of like a wearable hotdog stand.

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This is the German History Museum where we spent a very informative afternoon. They have a chronological history of Germany from before their conflicts with Rome up through the re-unification of Germany.

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This is a Catholic church that was built by Frederick The Great so the Catholic minority would have a place to worship even though he and most Germans were Protestant. He was an educated leader of the city who wanted to make sure his citizens were enlighten and so he made libraries and other science information available to all people.

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Here is Susan standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate on the East Berlin side.

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This is another picture of the Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower built by the Russians and East Germans after the War. The TV tower has a restaurant that rotates once per hour and is probably the best preserved example of architecture during the cold war. We went up in the tower and it was like stepping back into 1966.

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This is a picture of the city from the TV tower restaurant.

These next two pictures are of the inside of the Berlin Cathedral.
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This is a subway station from the cold war times called a “Ghost Station” these were stations that were simply walled off when East and West Berlin were segregated. It was said that many East Germans could hear the trains from West Berlin and sometimes people talking behind these blocked off walls but of course could not get to them.

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This is the memorial to the burning of the books in the square across the street from Humboldt University . It is a square hole in the ground with empty book shelves. Simple but moving.

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This monument, near one of the local train stations, is dedicated to the Jewish families that were brought to the station and made to pay for their trips to the concentration camps.

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This is a very large memorial to the Jews that lost their lives in the Holocaust. It is made up of 2,711 cement towers of varying sizes and heights and angles. When you walk among them it is sobering.

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This is a mural to promote Socialism located on the old Luftwaffe building. Just about 30 yards away from here in an open area farmer’s conducted a peaceful protest simply holding hands and singing songs to protest the reduced value of their crops after WWII. The East German police opened fire and they were all brutally killed.

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This is the last remaining section of the Berlin wall preserved near the Museum of Terror that is dedicated to the rise of the Nazi party and holocaust. These remains are the basement of what became the SS headquarters where some medical experimentation was performed on prisoners.

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This was the famed “Checkpoint Charlie” which was one of three gates between East and West Berlin.

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This is a photo of Hitler in the early days before he was elected Chancellor in the same Hof Brau in Munich where we had lunch about 2 weeks ago. It still looks exactly like this..... less the scary people with bad mustaches of course.

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These two pictures show the Brandenburg gate today vs. how it was just after the war separating East and West Berlin.

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These two pictures show the Art academy both today vs. how it looked when Hitler used this courtyard for his large Nazi gatherings in the early 1930’s it seemed very odd to stand where these events occured.

Well that’s it for now. I will try to catch up with you all before we leave Prague. Berlin is definitely a city that I would visit again. We had a great time and although some of the history is very sad and gruesome it has been the location for so much history that changed the world. I guess that is it for Germany as I think about it now we have had a great time here and I know much more about the history ad the people than I knew before.

Chow!

Posted by Trainwater 13:31 Archived in Germany

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