Saturday, December 28, 2013

I heart Berlin

Berlin. For me it was like a journey through the books of my secondary school history curriculum. It was all there: The Weimar Republic, the Reichstag fire, the rise of fascism, World War II, the Holocaust, the complete destruction and decimation of Berlin, the division of Berlin by the allies, the Cold War, the now seemingly-odd somewhat senseless Berlin Wall, the separation of families, the GDR/DDR, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the fall of the USSR, the re-unification of Germany in 1990 and the reinstatement of Berlin as the capital of Germany. The sometimes sad and intense history of Berlin is still very evident everywhere. Alongside this history are all the signs of a modern, vibrant, cosmopolitan, rich and gritty international city. I truly heart Berlin.  

View from the top of the German parliament Reichstag/Bundestag building

Memorial outside the Bundestag to those who attempted to cross the Berlin Wall at that point and were killed

Memorial to the approximately 6 million Jews killed in Europe under National Socialism

The glorious Brandenburg gate: Symbol of Berlin and symbol of a re-united Germany

Thoughts on the wall in an underground station

Berlin Hauptbahnhof: the central railway station and one of the biggest in Europe
Rosa Luxemburg-Platz: Station named after the marxist theorist and socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. She was executed in 1919 
Absolutely delicious Italian food at a small cafe near Nollendorf Platz station that was open on Christmas day

The massive KaDeWe Shopping Center: vibrant and modern

Checkpoint Charlie: Name for best-known crossing point between the wall dividing East and West Berlin. The sign still stands to this day
Piece of the wall and iconic photo of the soldier and the little boy at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum

Probably the strangest thing I learned: a divided Berlin meant that trains from west Berlin could not stop in the East. Soldiers waited on the subway platform with guns to ensure they did not stop

Standing on either side of  where the wall stood. The remnants of the wall are all over Berlin

The photo of US President Kennedy in his historical visit to a divided Berlin during the Cold War. The mayor of Berlin Willy Brandt who worked tirelessly towards peace and a united Berlin / Germany is the 2nd person to his right

Possibly the picture that sums it up the most. Pieces of the wall where it stood in Potsdamer Platz in the centre of Berlin. In the background, a towering iPhone ad. At the end of the Cold War, the winner it appears was capitalism


Jerome said...

Fascinating pictures, the comment about the iPhone ad and capitalism winning is profound! I also see you had Italian food in GERMANY, says a lot about German food lol.

Happy new year, Abena!

Abena Serwaa said...

Hahahahaha @Jerome. On the contrary; there was lots of German food we ran into. The only problem is that it involved huge slabs of tantalizing-looking meat and lots of sausages. The currywurst is particular Berlin favorite. Unfortunately for my friends, I do not eat meat so we had to strike a balance.
Happy New Year!

john said...

Nice post. Amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing the great article.