Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Berlin History and Architecture


It was somewhat cooler and less humid on Tuesday in Berlin which was a plus!

Every day should start with
a nutritious breakfast!

Today would be no exception, "Two orders of refined sugar, please."

The Beussel Grill

Across the street from our hotel, they offered great late night kebabs last night at reasonable rates.

The Manolito Erotica shop next door appeared to be closed last evening.

The Reichstag's Main Entrance

Our first stop today was an 8:00 a.m. visit to the home of Germany's Parliament.

In line outside the Reichstag

Memorial to Politicians Who Opposed Hitler

Just outside the Reichstag's front door, this is a memorial to the 96 members of Germany's Parliament who were murdered and persecuted because they dared to openly oppose Chancellor Hitler's policies. Each of these 96 slate slabs bears the name of the politician, birthdate and when and where he was executed.

The entrance to the Reichstag
at the end of World War II

The Bus to the Berlin Zoo

From the Reichstag we boarded the big yellow bus that you see in the background. Our goal was to get to the Berlin Zoo's entrance area to take the "Infamous Third Reich Sites" tour.

Do you see the little black Smart car parked closest to us? That's the car we just hit with our bus! Just a little nudge to his right rear as he cut into our lane too soon. No one was hurt but we all had to get off this bus and catch the next one in about ten minutes.

Mort, Our Tour Guide

He is a 73 years young, a retired dentist from the Baltimore/D.C. area who worked as a U.S. Army dentist in Germany for several years. Jewish, he has been married to two German ladies whose fathers were both card carrying Nazis. The father of his second wife held very strong pro-Hitler/Nazi feelings until the day he died long after WW II ended. Mort's wife rebelled against her father and eventually converted to Judaism.

Irony.

Mort did a great job and gave us some very fascinating perspectives to say the least!

Herman Göering's Luftwaffe Headquarters

The Trobi

Russian built plastic cars from the Cold War days, they are all the nostalgic rage in Berlin today.

A part of the Berlin Wall that still stands

Behind this segment of the Wall is where the Nazis had their SD (spy) Headquarters, SS Headquarters and Gestapo Headquarters. Not a good block back from 1933-45 to say the least!

Basement walls of the old SS and Gestapo buildings

That is the same Berlin Wall segment now in front of these Nazi terror sights.

Old Train Station

Under this portico Mussolini got off of a train from Rome to meet with Hitler. Hitler actually walked to the train on the path we are standing on to greet his little buddy.

Hitler's Bunker

It is now a parking lot for these apartment buildings, the bunker's rubble is still deep underground.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

In another ironic twist of fate, this plot of land is where Josef Göebbels' villa once stood. He was Hitler's Propaganda Minister.

On a brighter note,

Frank Gehry's DZ Bank Building Lobby

The U-Bahn

The only way to travel in Berlin! Unless you don't move fast enough and get separated from your wife and tour group with three other slackards.

It only happened once.

If it's a Hammer and Sickle, this must be
The Rusian Embassy!

Old habits die hard.

The Heather Linderman Ad-of-theDay

I told you that I needed to boost our readership numbers in July.

Humboldt University

One of Europe's greatest, its alumni include Marx, Lenin, the Brothers Grimm and more than two dozen Nobel Prize winners. Albert Einstein even taught here until 1932.

The Bebelplatz

Across the street from Humboldt University, it was in this square that in 1933 the infamous Nazi book burning of 20,000 volumes took place with the aid of some Humboldt University staff and students.

Albert got out of Humboldt University just in time!

Incredible, as someone once said about 100 years before this shameful act, "Once they burn books, then eventually they'll start burning people!"

The Book Burning Memeorial in Bebelplatz

Simply, empty bookshelves under this glass.

Irony

They were having a used book sale inside the Main Entrance Gate to Humboldt University today just across the street from the Bebelplatz.

The German History Museum

We were too tired to go into this highly respected museum but I liked its pink façade.

Pieta

In the Neue Wache, it marks both Germany's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Unknown Concentration Camp Victim.

On another bright note, East Berlin, the old Communist controlled side, has exploded with massive architectural wonders like these very upscale shopping centers.

Looking up inside Galeries Lafayette

Looking down inside Galeries Lafayette

Another Galeries Lafayette Food Court area

Check Point Charlie

The scene of so much Cold War tension between the USA and the Soviets. Here we are standing in East Berlin facing into the American sector. The McDonald's being the first business as you cross into the West is a nice touch.

Looking at a Cold War East Berlin

Similar view today in a reunified Germany

The Museum of the Wall
at Checkpoint Charlie

This very interesting Museum is a tribute to the many ingenious and successful ways that East Germans smuggled themselves into the West during the days of the Wall.

Who doesn't love a nice cupola?

While Laurie rested on a park bench, I took a photo or two.

We decided that we were hungry and wanted a unique dining experience. Our pick was to take the U-Bahn into the heart of East Berlin and dine at . . .

La Bogdeguita del Medio

Cuisine from Cuba, one of the last bastions of Communism, in the old Communist heart of East Berlin sounded like a perfect mix to us!

Ernest Hemingway drank his mojitos
in the original BdM in Old Havana

This is the fourth BdM I've experienced. Two were in Mexico at Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen. I just can't seem to remember where in the world the third one was located. They are all "decorated" in this same motif.

"Two Mojitos, please.
Havana Club rum if you have it."

The mojotos were cold and delicious. The traditional Ropa Vieja was prepared to perfection as well.

A great day seeing a vibrant new city that is still working at break-neck speed to erase all the Cold War negatives, especially in the East end of town.

What will our last day in Berlin bring us on Wednesday?

1 comment:

JTwice said...

LOVED BERLIN!!! Glad you are enjoying its "unique blend of old and new" (sorry, had to try out the most overused phrase in travel writing)