January 16, 2013
Oh Berlin. Berlin was pretty interesting to me and one of the only reasons we strayed from Royal Caribbean (we used to be loyal to Royal) and went on a Norwegian cruise – because they went to Berlin and we wanted to go there. I’m not usually a huge fan of big cities. I preferred Florence to Rome, Frederick to DC, but Berlin didn’t feel huge like those cities and I really liked that. It felt manageable, like if I was there without a tour group, I could have figured it out because it made sense to me. The day started at Charlottenburg Palace which is the largest palace in Berlin.
This is Victory Column. Made with melted down French cannonballs from the battlefield of Sedan, the column represents the victory of the local lads over the French in the Franco-Prussian War. American soldiers apparently took to name her Chick on a Stick.
Reichstag, German Parliament building.
Checkpoint Charlie is the name for the most popular crossing point in the Berlin Wall. You can see the two different soldiers signifying the each sector.
Humboltd University is so beautiful.
During WWII, the University was taken over by the Nazi Regime, just like they all were. It was from their library that over 20,000 books were burned because they were written by opponents to the Nazi’s. So now there is an underground memorial with glass over top that has empty shelves – enough to hold 20,000 books in memorial. It was pretty moving.
Berlin Cathedral….not much more to say about it.
The Fernsehturm, aka TV Tower, with St. Mary’s church there too, is the tallest structure in all of Germany at almost 1,200 feet high.
These bears were all over town. They are called United Buddy Bears – some are meant to just bring new life to the city and others are designed with a message of peace, international understanding and tolerance among the nations, cultures and religions of this world. I just thought they were cute, so they get a thumbs up!
The most hallowing thing we saw in Berlin was the Holocaust Memorial. I’m not sure what to say about it really. It sort of made me depressed and empty and a little scared to be honest. The design by US architect
Ted Mosby Peter Eisenmann was approved in 1999 some people liked it, some didn’t, the ones who didn’t like it said it was because it was huge and took up so much valuable space and other thought negatively of it because they chose an American designer. It oocupies about 205,000 square feet of space near the Brandenburg Gate and just a short distance from where the ruins of Hitler’s bunker is buried. It is made up of 2,711 gray stone slabs that are just completely bare. The slabs undulate (I just made motions with my hand to help me think of that word) in a wave-like pattern. Each is a five-sided monolith and is unique in shape and size. Some are only ankle high while others tower over visitors. The paths that are shaped between the slabs undulate also. Eisenman hoped to create a feeling of groundlessness and instability and a sense of disorientation. He succeeded.
As the slabs get taller, I could legit feel the weight of where I was closing in on me and I had to go back to wear it was shorter.
This is the Brandenburg Gate which used to be the city gate that stood right in between East and West Berlin. It led directly to the palace of the Prussian Monarchs.
Wondering why this looks familiar? Somebody dangled a baby out of a window of this hotel…..remember that?
Oh the Berlin wall! I could have photographed this all day. It was painted by members of communities from West Berlin but really artists from all over the world came to paint this wall, it goes on forever! On one side the free expression of the open society of West Berlin, while on the other was the blank walls of the repressed society that was East Berlin. Loved it.
Can you imagine just running by this every day?? I’m sure it is like us in Maryland seeing the capitol all the time, but seriously, so cool! Denmark is all that is left folks!!
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I’m based in Maryland, DC and Northern VA but don’t worry, I LOVE to travel.
I love me a new passport stamp.