Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Blown away by Berlin

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I'm back from Berlin and wow!  What a place!  We got back late Monday after three days there.  Not enough time by a long shot.

The city is a little unlike anywhere I've been before.  It's history, whilst not a long history (by European standards) is present.  It has the "old" beautiful ornate churches and universities and museums like all European cities.  Then it has reminders of it's recent history, of it's involvement and the destruction of WWII, and of the Cold War, and the Wall.  And now it's got a grungey edgy vibe to it.  It has high unemployment and a lot of artists.  There is street art everywhere (which could easily be a whole other post)

We packed a lot into the time we had there:
  • We did a 6 hour walking tour on Saturday - taking in many of the historical sites
  • We drank beers in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate as the sun set.
  • We climbed the Reichstag (the most impressive and fun parliament building I've been in) and delighted in playing in the mirrors of its central column
  • We spent a long time in awe at the East Side Gallery
  • We learned about the many escape attempts by East Germans during the GDR rule at the Checkpoint Charlie Musuem
  • We enjoyed the Berlin nightlife (never have I had a more random night out than Sunday night that was spent at 6 very different and diverse bars)
We wandered and walked and just tried to take it all in.  It is a fantastic place and I'd love to return there for some more time.  Next time I hope to do better with my German (I know a little, a very little.  Whilst I can order things in German etc, I'm too slow to understand much of the return conversation.)

I took a lot of pics, but here's a few random ones.  I'll upload them all to Flickr at somepoint but for now, here are a few.

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Memorial to the fallen Jews of Europe

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Brandenburg Gate

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Playing in the mirrors at the Reichstag (parliament building)

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My favourite of all the murals along a remnant of the Wall (East Side Gallery).  These murals were painted in 1989 - 1990.  The original artists came and restored them for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall.

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