A 15-day adventure by skip's retirement travel
  • Day13

    Kreuzberg, Berlin

    August 25, 2021 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Another neighborhood in the former East Berlin. I'm told that the largest concentration of Turks out side of Turkey is in Germany, and that is focused in this neighborhood. It seems they were invited after world war 1 to help rebuild due to a lack of workers. The Turks have become part of Berlin to the point where döner kebab was created here and has become the fast food of the city. (And it's good, too!)
    Kreuzberg is also famous for art and music. It is the punk center of Berlin, and the first picture includes SO36, the oldest punk club in Berlin frequented by well-known musicians such as Iggy Pop.
    Berlin is known, too, for alternative housing. The 2nd picture is of the Bethanian. This was built as a hospital in the 1840s and continued in operation until about 1970. It survived world war 2 because it was both a hospital and an important way mark for allied bombers. After it closed, it became a squat house (occupied by squatters not paying rent). Today it's an art space focusing on current social and cultural issues.
    The 3rd picture is another squat house, this one used by one of the groups that made up the Red Army Faction anarchist group.
    The 4th picture is of a tree house built by a Turk using discarded materials. It is on the west side of the wall on East Berlin land. (It's a long story.) It overlooks the wall and the 5th picture. This is of a part of the former no man's land between east and west. Note the wooden playgrounds, a lovely reuse of land with an ugly history.
    The last picture looks across at YAAM: Young African Art Market and club, beach bar, eateries, street art site and more. I had dinner at a place run by a Presbyterian from Ghana. To my friends in Lowell, there were lots of familiar flavors. I thought of you all.
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  • Day13

    Berlin street art

    August 25, 2021 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Berlin has lots of street art, especially in the former East Berlin. Some is quite interesting, but there is way too much tagging for my taste. That stuff looks more defacing than the street art which does enhance the community.
    The 1st picture is of paste up art. I'm told that some of these artists attend raves and other parties to take pictures anonymously. They select the ones they like to blow up and use for their art. Who knows? You might be famous on some wall in Berlin!
    The 2nd is an example of a sculpture on the street with some tagging. The third is an example of the use of stencils and shows the temporary nature of much street art. Unless it is a recognized piece, it can be painted over.
    The 4th picture is a recent work while the 5th is a work in progress.
    The last picture, the astronaut, I'm told was done for a festival using a stenciling process. You can probably tell by the angle of the picture that it is high on the wall.
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  • Day12

    Frankfurt #3

    August 24, 2021 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Continuing through some more of Frankfurt's sights. 1st this time is the Kleimarkthalle, Frankfurt's food market, just a block or so off Zeilstrasse. Those who have been following me will recognize that these markets are some of my favorite places: so much great looking food; wonderful aromas.
    The next picture looks across Paulsplatz to St Paul's church. Originally a Lutheran church, st. Paul's is where the 1st elected parliament (Frankfurt Assembly) in Germany met and proclaimed the 1st constitution that established a number of ideas continued in subsequent constitutions.
    The 3rd picture is of Romerberg. This square and neighborhood of half timbered and gabled buildings is classic Frankfurt. The Frankfurt Christmas Market is held in the square, along with many other events. Across the square is the Town Hall in picture #4.
    The 5th picture, just a short way from Romer, is the Haus Wertheyn. This building dates to the 1400s and is the only half timbered structure to make it through world war 2.
    The 6th picture is the Eiserner Steg Bridge, the only bridge of it's type in Frankfurt.
    At this point my phone started to run out of gas, and after almost 5 hours of walking, so did my feet. I recognize that modern Frankfurt is missing from this. Come see it for yourself!
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  • Day12

    Frankfurt #2

    August 24, 2021 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Continuing the exploration of Frankfurt, the 1st picture in this post is the Eschenheimer Tower built in the early 1400s. It is 1 of only 3 remaining towers out of 60 that used to be here. The 2nd picture is of Fressgass, aka Grazing Street which is a nickname for Grosse Bockenheimer, where the elites came to shop and dine.
    The 3rd picture is Hauptwache Square. The building to the left us the Hauptwache building which dates to 1730. The building with the he tower across the square is the Katharinenkirche or St. Catharine's Church. St. Catharine's is the largest Protestant church in Frankfurt (the 4th picture). The 5th picture is the writer Goethe's home that has been converted to a museum. The 6th picture is of Zeil Street, a major shopping street in Frankfurt. This is a well shaded pedestrian street, perfect for non-shoppers who are accompanying avid shoppers.
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  • Day12

    Frankfurt am Main #1

    August 24, 2021 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    There is so much in Frankfurt that it will take multiple posts to cover it. (Not to mention that I have a full day to myself to wander around.)
    The 1sr 2 pictures are taken from the top of the Main Tower. (Remember that Main is pronounced "mine" in German.) The 1st looks out across the city with the River Main to be the left. The 2nd picture is of the so called Old Opera House that is neither old nor an opera house. It was built to replace the opera house destroyed during the war and still hosts concerts, etc. The 3rd picture is of the Wallenlangen Park that circles the city along the route of the ancient city walls
    The 4th picture is the Hauptbahnhof, the main rail station dating from 1888.
    The 5th picture is of Kaiserstrasse which has some of the few 18th century buildings not bombed to rubble during world ear 2.
    The last picture in this post is the Frankfurt Bourse with the bull and bear in the lower left corner.
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  • Day11


    August 23, 2021 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    University town with the oldest university in Germany, founded in the 14th century. Heidelberg is an important center for science (especially research) and the arts (especially literature). This was the capital of the Electorate of the Palatinate, now part of Baden-Württemburg state.
    The 1st picture looks across the River Neckar to Heidelberg with the ruins of the castle above the town. The 2nd picture looks back from the terrace at the castle over Heidelberg.
    The 3rd picture is of the town hall on the market square, the center of town. Along one side is the main shopping street in town which is a 1.6 km pedestrian street and is shown in the 4th picture.
    The 5th picture is the old city gate at the end of the old city bridge. The past picture is the old university building, now a museum.
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  • Day10


    August 22, 2021 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Neuschwanstein Castle is probably the most widely recognized building in Germany. Most of us know that this is the castle that inspired Walt Disney.
    Built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century. For some reason, I had thought this was older. It turns out that Ludwig the Insane (as he was known when he was deposed) wished to recreate medieval chivalry.
    The 1st picture is of the castle from across the valley. The 2nd and 3rd pictures are taken in the entry courtyard.
    Unfortunately, pictures are not allowed inside the castle. So I found 3 postcards together in the shop and took a picture of them. This at least gives you a sense of the decor. It is even more extraordinary. Most of the decor reflects the legends made well known in the Wagnerian operas.
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  • Day9


    August 21, 2021 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    The concentration camp at Dachau, opened in 1933, was used at first for political prisoners and as a work camp. Over time, it expanded. Most of the concentration camps built by the be Nazis followed the layout developed at Dachau.
    The 1st picture is the gatehouse with it's familiar sign in the 2nd picture: "work makes you free" (it can be translated other ways, but this is the essence). The 3rd is the main yard were morning and evening roll call formations were held. The 4th picture looks through the window to one of the barracks which were closed due to covid.
    The camp was originally built for 6,000 prisoners, but got to a terribly overcrowded 30,000. Due to increased deaths, a crematorium was added. Then it was turned into an extermination camp. The 5th picture is of the gas chamber, and the 6th is the crematorium.
    I found it extremely hard to imagine the crowded conditions, let alone the cruelty of the place and the abject fear the prisoners must have lived with. The camp as it is today seems to me to have been prettified, perhaps as a memorial; perhaps to soften edges. Yet, there are plenty of pictures of the horror that I have not included here.
    A sign recalls a quote from a US Army liberator: "the most horrible sight I have ever seen." I believe it.
    I can only see this a a mild preparation for Auschwitz. I will be there in a couple weeks
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