Visiting Berlin as our first stop on a Europe vacation with Dylan and Polly
  • Day7

    Travelling to Bristol

    December 23, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    Well here we are waiting for a delayed flight to Bristol after convincing Jen that we really should take a taxi instead of running all over Germany trying to work out the train routes with our cases in tow...wtf!
    I look like a beetle in this shot...cross eyed at that.
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  • Day6

    Topographie des Terrors

    December 22, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 4 °C

    This was one of the more confronting tours as it was a museum dedicated to the horrors of the Gestapo and the increasingly fascist police state that existed from 1933-1945.
    The buildings that housed the Gestapo and SS headquarters were largely destroyed by Allied bombing during early 1945 and the ruins demolished after the war. The boundary between the American and Soviet zones of occupation in Berlin ran along the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, so the street soon became a fortified boundary, and the Berlin Wall ran along the south side of the street, renamed Niederkirchnerstrasse, from 1961 to 1989. The wall here was never demolished. Indeed, the section adjacent to the Topography of Terror site is the longest extant segment of the outer wall (the longer East Side Gallery section in Friedrichshain being actually part of the inner wall not visible from West Berlin).

    The first exhibitions of the site took place in 1987, as part of Berlin's 750th anniversary. The cellar of the Gestapo headquarters, where many political prisoners were tortured and executed, was found and excavated. The site was then turned into a memorial and museum, in the open air but protected from the elements by a canopy, detailing the history of repression under the Nazis. The excavation took place in cooperation with East German researchers, and a joint exhibition was shown both at the site and in East Germany in 1989.

    In 1992, two years after German reunification, a foundation was established to take care of the site, and the following year, it initiated an architectural competition to design a permanent museum. A design by architect Peter Zumthor was chosen. However, construction was stopped due to funding problems after the concrete core of the structure had been built. This stood on the site for nearly a decade until it was finally demolished in 2004 and a new building begun.
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  • Day5

    Reishtag Dinner

    December 21, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    The term Reichstag, when used to connote a diet, dates back to the Holy Roman Empire. The building was built for the Diet of the German Empire, which was succeeded by the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. The latter would become the Reichstag of Nazi Germany, which left the building (and ceased to act as a parliament) after the 1933 fire and never returned, using the Kroll Opera House instead; the term Reichstag has not been used by German parliaments since World War II. In today's usage, the word Reichstag (Imperial Diet Building) refers mainly to the building, while Bundestag (Federal Diet) refers to the institution.

    The ruined building was made safe against the elements and partially refurbished in the 1960s, but no attempt at full restoration was made until after German reunification on 3 October 1990, when it underwent a reconstruction led by architect Norman Foster.

    After its completion in 1999, it once again became the meeting place of the German parliament: the modern Bundestag.
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  • Day5

    Plastination Display

    December 21, 2019 in Germany ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

    Plastination is a technique or process used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts, first developed by Gunther von Hagens in 1977. The water and fat are replaced by certain plastics, yielding specimens that can be touched, do not smell or decay, and even retain most properties of the original sample.

    Four steps are used in the standard process of plastination: fixation, dehydration, forced impregnation in a vacuum, and hardening.[3] Water and lipid tissues are replaced by curable polymers, which include silicone, epoxy, and polyester-copolymer.
    The exhibition that I saw in Berlin was primarily focused on the human species with many insights around long term health issues that we as humans should be aware of and prepared to manage with better nutrition and exercise habits.
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  • Day5

    Stasi Museum (cont’d)

    December 21, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    The centrepiece of the exhibition is the office and working quarters of the former Minister of State Security – i.e. head of the Stasi – Erich Mielke. The museum is operated by the Antistalinistische Aktion Berlin-Normannenstraße (ASTAK), which was founded by civil rights activists in Berlin in 1990. It aims to foster the development of the museum as a "centre for the collection, preservation, documentation, rehabilitation and exhibition of evidence and research materials relating to East Germany".Read more

  • Day5

    Stasi Museum

    December 21, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    One has to see it to believe it but the level of intrusion into the lives of every citizen of the GDR is mind boggling.
    The Stasimuseum is located in House 1 on the former grounds of the headquarters of the GDR Ministry for State Security (MfS). The building was erected in 1960-61 as the offices of Erich Mielke, who served as Minister for State Security from 1957 until the end of the GDR.
    On 15 January 1990 demonstrators took over the Stasi headquarters.
    A week later, the Central Round Table, a committee made up of representatives of the SED dictatorship and civil rights groups, decided that a “memorial and research centre on GDR Stalinism” should be established in House 1. When nothing came of this declaration of intent, members of the Berlin citizens’ committee and other civil rights activists took action and began securing the historic site.
    In August they founded the association “Antistalinistische Aktion e.V.” (ASTAK). On 7 November 1990, it opened the Research Centre and Memorial at Normannenstrasse with an exhibition titled “Against the Sleep of Reason”. House 1, later named the Stasi Museum, has been open to the public ever since.
    The offices of Erich Mielke are preserved in their original condition and form the centrepiece of the historic site.
    Since 1990, ASTAK has shown different exhibitions, providing information about the State Security and how its activities affected the GDR population. The permanent exhibition “State Security in the SED Dictatorship,” which the association created jointly with the Stasi Records Agency, opened in House 1 in January 2015.
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  • Day5

    World Clock

    December 21, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    The sixteen ton world clock was opened to the public on 30 September 1969, shortly before the twentieth anniversary of the German Democratic Republic, along with the Berlin TV Tower (Fernsehturm). The erection of the clock was part of a larger plan to expand and reorganize Alexanderplatz as a whole. At the end of the renovations, the public square was four times larger than it was at the end of the World War II.

    The clock has become since the 1970s the scene of protests, as well as a landmark which Berliners living near the area use to meet others.

    On 12 May 1983 the Bundestag deputies of The Greens, including Petra Kelly, Gert Bastian and three other deputies, unrolled a banner with the inscription "The Greens – swords to plowshares" before the world clock and were arrested.

    On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic on 7 October 1989, opposition political groups formed a demonstration which began at the clock and ended at the Palace of the Republic. The state responded by arresting over 1,200 of the protesters. Thirty-three days later, the Berlin Wall fell.
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  • Day5

    Berlin TV Tower (cont’d)

    December 21, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    The tower allows people to observe the city of Berlin on a 360 degree basis and some of the photos depict the different angles of the city.
    Walking around Berlin really reminds me of how East Berlin would have looked under the GDR regime and some of the apartment blocks in a couple of the photos depict this.
    Interestingly, the city of Berlin has approximately 3.8 million citizens and yet gives the appearance of being vastly different in size to Melbourne.
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  • Day5

    Berlin TV Tower

    December 21, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    Situated in Marien quarter (Marienviertel), close to Alexanderplatz in the locality and district of Mitte, the tower was constructed between 1965 and 1969 by the government of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).
    It was intended to be both a symbol of Communist power and of the city. It remains a landmark today, visible throughout the central and some suburban districts of Berlin. With its height of 368 metres (including antenna) it is the tallest structure in Germany, and the third-tallest structure in the European Union.
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  • Day4

    Eastside Gallery - Berlin

    December 20, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    The East Side Gallery is an open-air gallery in Berlin. It consists of a series of murals painted directly on a 1,316 m (4,318 ft) long remnant of the Berlin Wall, located near the centre of Berlin, on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
    The gallery has official status as a Denkmal, or heritage-protected landmark. According to the Künstlerinitiative East Side Gallery an association of the artists involved in the project, "The East Side Gallery is understood to represent a monument to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful negotiation of borders and conventions between societies and people", and has more than three million visitors per year.

    The Gallery consists of 105 paintings by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990 on the east side of the Berlin Wall. The actual border at this point had been the river Spree. The gallery is located on the so-called "hinterland mauer", which closed the border to West Berlin.
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