Category: Germany

Berlin Minimal – The Berlin Wall

Those of you born after 1989 may find the hard to believe but the in the post war era, during the so called Cold War, the ‘Two Tribes’ of Communism and Capitalism faced off against each other for decades.  Much of this time we lived under the fear of nuclear war between the super power blocks.    The greatest symbol of this Cold War was the Berlin Wall – a 140 kms long wall that was built in 1961 by the Soviet backed East German Government to stop the exodus of East Germans to the Western sector.  There is a long history to the wall – including the killing...

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Berlin Minimal – The Memorial to The Murdered Jews of Europe

It’s only a short walk from the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to the Memorial to The Murdered Jews of Europe.   It consists of a large space filled with 2711 stelae – which look like sarcophagi – built of concrete and in a regular pattern but of varying heights.  The New York artist Peter Eisenmann designed it.  At the edge of the site is a Room of Names where the names of all the known Jewish victims of the Holocaust are projected onto the walls of the room and their names read out.  It takes seven years...

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Berlin Minimal – The Reichstag and Bundestag Buildings

To those us brought up on The World at War documentaries the very word ‘Reichstag’ summons up images of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, goose-stepping SS and the dreadful, hideous reality of the extermination of up to 12 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the disabled.  6 million of these victims were Jews – estimated to be approximately 2/3rds of the European Jewish population at the time. Although the Reichstag building seems synonymous with the Nazi era it actually wasn’t used during Hitler’s time in power as he used a fire in the building on the 27 February 1937...

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German Christmas markets in Cologne

Like many German cities, Cologne (or Köln to use its German name) sparkles brightest at Christmas time, when its festive markets become the star attraction. This year are seven different markets dotted around the city, so there’s something for everyone, young and old. In each market you’ll find a happy throng of visitors and locals wandering among stalls selling wooden toys, tree decorations and woollen clothing; eating gingerbread and bratwursts and sipping from steaming mugs of glühwein (mulled wine) as they shop. Each market has its own unique glühwein mug, so you’ve the perfect excuse to try a drop...

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A walk along the East Side Gallery – Berlin

After a lunch break near the Neptune Fountain the sky seemed to clear a bit and it stopped raining. Time to move on to our last Berlin location: East Side Gallery. Two months after the official fall of the Berlin Wall, in November 1989, a project called the ‘East Side Gallery’ was started. An initiative that involved over a hundred artists who were asked to make murals on a remaining stretch of the Wall in East Berlin. It was the first time in history actually that the East side of the Wall that was painted on, something that was not possible before....

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The Neptune Fountain of Berlin

Although the sun was really trying hard today, the grey clouds still filled the sky. We had to move on, leaving the Berliner Dom behind us, we crossed the road and ended up on a square. With St Mary’s Church (Marienkirche) on one side, which was first established in the late 13th century. And the Rotes Rathaus, Berlin’s Town Hall, on the other side (built between 1861 and 1869). And right in the middle…. Neptune Fountain. At first sight this baroque fountain in bronze and granite, seemed to be a little bit out of place here, not quite fitting the scenery. But...

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Berlin – From the Dom to the Tower

A day to explore. And for exploration you cannot go wrong from the centre of Berlin. The Hostel I was based at provided us with an enormous amount in any any direction. We turned right out the door and followed our noses. Through museum island around to where the grandeur of Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) stands proudly in its own open space. A cathedral that has never technically been a cathedral. It has actually never had a Bishop in its seat. But sure it looks grander and more cathedral-like than many in the world. In the 1400s a chapel once...

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In the heart of the German capital – Generator Hostel Berlin

It was time to catch the train this time heading further South from Hamburg to Germany’s capital, Berlin. A city that has been transformed so much over the years and still continuing to do so. Every time I visit the city landscape has changed with improvements and new buildings, yet it always manages to keep its huge diversity of culture. This really is a city for the young and old. First we checked into the next of the Generator Hostels on this flying trip around Europe. And it was one of the newest, Berlin Mitte, right in the heart...

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