Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Final, Sweltering Day in Berlin

Our last day in Berlin proved to be the hottest and most humid one yet!

We started off the morning by heading towards Unter den Linden, the heart of former East Berlin. In Berlin's pre-Hitler days, this was one of Europes best boulevards. It got its name because of the thousand linden trees that shaded this once proud and elegant Prussian street.

Today an address here might mean that you live on . . .

The Upper Eastside???

George, Laurie, Andy, Michael

Commie guards back on duty?

No, just two capitalists out trying to make an honest Euro.

"The Death Strip"

Throughout Berlin there are two tracks like these showing you exactly where and how wide the Berlin Wall stood. Just a little over 20 years ago, the people you see here walking out of East Berlin would probably be dead in their tracks at this locale.

We decided to beat the heat with a stroll through the "green lungs of Berlin," Tiergarten Park. The park has over 500 acres of cool, welcoming shade trees and some interesting statues.

Soviet Memorial

It was erected by the Russians as a tribute to the Soviet soldiers who died trying to capture Berlin at the end of WWII.

Shade, Shade, Shade, Shade, Shade . . .

Otto von Bismark
Prussian/German Statesman

"Why don't you take your top off before
we play some ping pong in this heat?"

Dried Fruit


The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Dedicated to the first emperor of Germany, this church's bombed out ruins have been left standing as a reminder of Berlin's destruction at the end od Worl War II.

The Olympic Stadium

The 1936 Berlin Games, the Jesse Owens Games, the Hitler's Nazi Games . . .

This stadium has a lot of athletic and social connotations attached to it because of the 1936 Games.

This is not one of them!

The Olympic flame burned here

The Results of the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Interesting Roof Line

Excellent Track and Soccer Facility

Hitler's Box area?


What does this sign on the outside of the Olympic Stadium really mean?

The Olympic Pool

When I was young, some us would meet down at San Marino High School to go swimming in their pool during hot Summer days like today. It was great fun and I wished that I could have joined these kids today to beat the heat!

The Upscale Sony Center
on Potsdamer Platz

Captain Morgan?

Strangely, Laurie struck this pose out of nowhere, the Sun must be getting to her!

The design for Home Plate
was invented in Berlin

German Resistance Memorial

This museum and memorial tell the story of several organized German resistance movements against Hitler.

Claus von Stauffenberg

In the 2009 Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie, Cruise plays Claus von Stauffenberg who botched an attempt to blow up Hitler by a stroke of bad luck. This courtyard in the previous picture is where the real von Stauffenberg was executed by firing squad.

Berlin's City Hall

Dinner at Gasthaus Mutter Hoppe

A perfect way to end another exhausting day.

Final Berlin Thoughts: Germany's capital is vibrant, modern, efficient and clean. Because of the massive destruction wreaked on the city by World War II and with the reunification of Germany in the 1990s, probably 80% or more of the city's buildings are less than 65 years old. It is a bright, shining city that was great fun to visit. Its dark Nazi history is also fascinating to see. I highly recommend it as a travel destination on your next trip to Europe.

Does it crack into my Top Five European Cities list?

I'm afraid not, for all of the positive reasons I just enumerated. I like my Euro towns old, with old churches and old buildings. I don't want to see the vacant lot where Gestapo Headquarters once practiced their ways, I want to see the actual building instead.

Great city? Yes.

In my Top Five? No.

I also like my Top Five European Cities to have temperatures in the low 20s˚C!

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