Blogs from Berlin, Germany, Europe

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Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin May 15th 2019

So the old man's quest to become a parkrun alphabeteer (running a parkrun beginning with each letter of the alphabet) has brought us to Poland, via Germany, with a brief foray into Slovakia. I studied north of Berlin in 1988 and was a regular visitor to the then East Berlin. I've only been back once since reunification, and it's rather a weird feeling. Not only how much a place, particularly one with such a turbulent history has changed. But also, how you can walk along a road which is so familiar, then reach a part you have never visited before, because there used to be a wall in between. We fly into Berlin ahead of schedule (an EasyJet first). Then pass through immigration. I get stopped by immigration a second time. So much for freedom of ... read more
Alexanderplatz 2019
Alexanderplatz 1988
Alexanderplatz 2019

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin April 15th 2019

This group is very different from those I have joined in the past. There are 16 of us , and seven are older than I! My room mate is a woman from Victoria born on December 25 , 1950, and a retired teacher ...practically a twin !! I tnink we will work out okay . Not to sure about the retired orthosurgeon and KENNY suporter from Calgary . The other Canadians are from Winnipeg , Saskatoon and Ottawa. 4 of the group are from Australia and 3 from New Zealand. Our guide seems to be a very nice young man . 30years old and originally from Turkey . He has been working with G for 6 years and is now one of their trainers . He takes pride in his work . He studied history and ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin April 13th 2019

My arrival was quite easy . I can not tell a lie though. Instead of figuring out the transit system I took a cab from the airport . A bit expensive but oh so easy . But going back a bit , I had lunch with a friend in Calgary and when I boarded the plane I had no seat companions so I was able to spread across 3 seats and probably slept @5 hours which is pretty good . From gate to gate , Calgary to Frankfurt is 9hrs 15min. Customs was easy and the turn around was long enough to walk about which was good . Flying into Frankfurt was interesting . It seemed to me that there were many isolated villages . Quite close to each other , a few kilometers , all ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin January 21st 2019

Berlin Number one surprise. When we booked a three night January trip to Berlin back in October we didn’t expect to discover that friends Ewan and Helen would be joining us on the same plane from Newcastle last night. Great to spend some time together. Number two surprise. We had sussed that our plane was four minutes late in arriving, using our handy Easyjet Tracker facility. But once fully boarded and belted a sinking feeling permeated the mood of the travellers on board, and this despite, or perhaps because, we were still on the ground fifteen minutes after our captain’s welcome and reassurance that we were on our way. (He did mention a change to normal procedure and not to get anxious about unusual sounds......). Twenty minutes in, the captain announced that the replacement starter engine ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin January 21st 2019

1st Morning, Berlin. Strolling up Friedrich Straße, essentially a high street, we soon bag a couple of Art Nouveau Jugendstil buildings. Excellent. I’ve built up a collection of snaps of A N in European cities and am becoming obsessional about seeking further shots. Approaching Unter den Linden we’re excited to find a memory of Berlin from our visit to play music with IG BLECH in the ‘90s: a large blue pipe arising from the pavement, traversing the road at an ‘above bus height’ level and then descending into the ground. We thought then that it was about the unification of the sewerage of east and west....... now it’s because there’s a new underbahn metro tunnel being built under Unter den Linden.Because Berlin is built upon a swamp the water table is high and new building work ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin January 21st 2019

Morning Two, Berlin Sleet welcomes us as we leave the hotel to find breakfast in our local Kamps Backstube (Bakeroom ...... it’s like a Greggs). We resolve to buy a underbahn day ticket and keep dry as we explore. So it’s a trip to Kurfürstendamm on the subway (another high street, more like a Champs Élysées boulevard than Freidrichstrße), mostly travelling overground with views of the south of Tiergarten. Our destination is the Käthe Kollwitz Museum on Fasanstraße. The gallery is a substantial townhouse in this well to do district. It’s setting is somewhat at odds with the art works’ subject exhibited within. When KK arrived in 1891 the area was dominated by working class tenements, brothels and a scene of overpopulation. Berlin is said to have had the biggest population explosion of any European city ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin January 21st 2019

Morning Three: Berlin Just enough time to walk to the Jüdisches Museum before heading to Schönefeld Airport. We have planned a route that zig zags past various sites but the ‘cold and the fret’ (Richard Scott) is full in our faces so we default to the shortest pathway possible. We visited the museum, famous for its angular design, when it had just opened in 1997. It still feels like nothing is truly vertical or perpendicular. It is the building that you are visiting and understanding more than its exhibits. The only entrance is through a old baroque building then via a staircase that descends to the main space. Three axes present an uphill struggle for the visitor. One to Exile, one to Holocaust and the last to Continuation. You ascend each of the pathways but their ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin November 15th 2018

Another museum day: the Topography of Terror and the Berlin Wall Memorial Museum. Basically, it made every thing in my body and mind hurt with questions how things happen and why we don't learn from our mistakes. One exhibit within the Topography of Terror examined those who were prosecuted for their war crimes. Less than 6% of those investigated for war crimes were prosecuted. Out of those prosecuted very few were found guilty and almost none served full sentences. Shelby and I spent a good chunk of time discussing whether you would feel better seeing your abuser go through the process and found innocent or released early or not have them prosecuted at all. On the one hand, you were able to face you accuser and the system fails you, but the system fails you twice...the ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin November 14th 2018

We ventured out to the Olympiastadion in Berlin. This is the site of the 1936 Olympic Games. I cannot believe someone thought it would be a good idea to give Germany the Olympic games after their economy, infrastructure was demolished and every couple of months there was a new government. But somehow Germany pulled off the creation of the stadium. In this Olympics, the rise of Nazi Germany was taking form. Everything from the architecture of the stadiums, the statues of the gods and the symbolism built in the design spoke to the master race of Germans. It is amazing the amount of detail that went into the construction and how the buildings were cutting edge at the time. The pool was surrounded in emerald green tiles to reflect the pool water, the pillars and bell ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin November 13th 2018

Another first day; first days are the hardest. It is new, unknown, and unpredictable. It creates a combination of anxiety and excitement which feel very similar. So today, I was either a belly full of excitement or anxiety. Normally, I would say excitement because why not, but today, it seemed more like anxiety due to knowing absolutely not a lick of German. The three things that kept repeating in my mind were my dad telling Denise he knew German saying “Ich bin ein Berliner, and sprichst du Deutsch?” and the words “fledermaus” and “Rosinenbomber” (two words Denise taught me). These are all worthless now, but made me laugh. Transportation from the airport to hostel went well. The subway ride had no transfers and good directions led to improvement from London Day 1. Along the rails were ... read more




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