Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hallo (that's German for Hello)

Cheers! I am back in the warm. Berlin was amazing. I feel like I just visited history. It's startling how much crap has happened to that city. Pictures!

This is Schloss Charlottenburg. Schloss means 'palace' -- Berlin was covered with palaces. Many of them were destroyed in various wars, but they just keep rebuilding them. The inside was silly with gilding. You can see why the Bauhaus movement was so sick of decoration.

This church, the Kaiser Wilhelm, is half rebuilt, as a reminder of war. It's all bombed out from World War II, but they still hold services next door.

The book burning memorial, in the center of Bebelplatz (a 'platz' in Berlin is like a Square in NYC). It's in front of Humboldt University, the distinguished school that produced Einstein, whose thousands of books were burned by the Nazis. The memorial is simply an empty bookshelf, underground, with an inscription that warns, approximately, "What starts with burning books always ends with burning people."

The Holocaust Memorial, in the center of Berlin. It has no particular meaning, except that which you make yourself, and is constructed of various blocks that all have the same footprint, but different heights, on uneven ground. Some people think it looks like a graveyard. Our guide felt that the disorientation you feel walking through the memorial conveys some sense of the confusion and isolation those imprisoned in concentration camps felt.

My tour book referred to the excessively ornate architecture of the Prussians as "bombastic." This is Brandenburger Tor, near the Holocaust Memorial, which later became a symbol of reunited Germany because it was on the border of East and West Berlin.

Only parts of the Berlin Wall are still standing. This part is behind a fence to protect it from tourists seeking mementos. Most places you can't even tell that the wall was ever there.

A section of the wall in East Berlin was turned into an open air art space called the East Side Gallery. Graffiti artists were invited to paint the wall. Other graffiti artists have added to it. This painting was especially moving.

I took a lot of pictures of fences and leaves. The fences along bridges were always ornate and beautiful.

The center of Tiergarten, Berlin's central park. This is the spot where Obama gave a speech, causing all of Germany to have a great big crush on him. Berlin generally loves America, more than most of Europe, but they weren't on speaking terms lately. Now the passion is back.

A little fun with forced perspective: an angel on Geoff's shoulder.

I don't know why Indy had to convince Nazi's that "It belongs in a museum." It seems like they think everything belongs in a museum, including entire stolen temples. This one, and several others, are in the Pergamon Museum.

We shopped KaDeWe, the second largest department store in the world (after Harrod's). The toys there all looked depressed.

I made sure to visit the Turkish Market in Kreuzberg, in East Berlin. This is the best place in Berlin to buy fruits and vegetables, and, interestingly enough, craft supplies. Every other booth was a fabric shop. I bought some beautiful viscose fabric for 1.50 euro a meter, I hope to make a skirt out of eventually.

That's enough about my vacation... more crafty posts soon.

1 comment:

i wish i had a penguin friend said...


Those toys do look pretty sad, hahaha

that's Germany for you!