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Published: November 16th 2014
Politically correct carpet. PC in East Germany that is
Two days in Berlin - too little but it was all we could take off from work this time
Leonard Cohen once wrote the lines "First we take Manhattan then we take Berlin". We took his lyrics literally and, having visited Manhattan earlier this year, we headed off to Berlin for a weekend.
We have been to Berlin before
, five years ago, and that was not the first visit to Berlin for neither of us. Considering how much we like Berlin and how easy it is for us to go there it is surprising how rarely we visit the German capital.
We only had two days to spend in Berlin this time so with limited time on our hands we could only squeeze in a limited amount of sightseeing. First we went to Bernauer Strasse to see the Berlin Wall memorial park there.
The Berlin Wall, the wall that for almost 30 years divided Berlin, ran along Bernauer Strasse. When the wall fell in 1989, 25 years ago this year by the way, and subsequently was demolished an elongated open space was created through Berlin. Along Bernauer Strasse this open space was
Karl Marx sculpture
dedicated to a memorial park/open air museum about the wall. In the memorial park they have recreated sections of the wall, erected memorials over the people who were killed when they tried to escape East Berlin and put up signs with historical information about the wall. Supposedly a short section of the original wall still stands there. It didn't look like the original wall though, it looked like it was rebuilt.
Half a block away from Bernauer Strasse an iconic photo was taken when the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961. The photo shows a young East German soldier
right when he defects East Berlin by jumping across the barbed wire which is marking the border. Today there is a sculpture hanging from a wall not far from the spot where he performed his famous defection.
Next site we visited was Charlottenburg Palace
. In spite having visited Berlin before we haven't seen this palace before. It is a lovely palace so it is worth visiting. One of the reasons we haven't seen Charlottenburg Palace before is that near Berlin, in Potsdam, there are a few other palaces
, palaces so spectacular that they make even the wonderful Chalottenburg Palace come out looking
like a shack in a shanty town. The palaces in Potsdam are often referred to as Sanssouci and we will write about them in some other blog entry some other year.
The last place we visited in Berlin was the Stasi Museum. Stasi was the East German secret police, an organisation which main purpose was to gather information on East German citizens and others. In other words, they spied on everybody and every scrap of information they could get their hands on was collected and filed in large archives. Stasi infiltrated pretty much all of the East German society and the amount of information they gathered is staggering.
The museum is housed in the former Stasi headquarters. In the museum there are displays telling the history of Stasi, explaining their methods and also exhibitions on what life in Eastern Germany was like. The museum was interesting but we are disappointed that there was so little information about the gigantic archives Stasi is famous for. Most of the archives is preserved and we would have liked to know more about them. All we saw during our visit was one photo and that was not even
in the museum...
It was five years ago since we were in Berlin last time and this visit was only a very short one. Hopefully it won't take another five years before we go back and we hope we will be able to stay a little longer next time.
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