Sunday, June 12, 2011

Berlin for a day! Historical Monuments, currywurst and salsa dancing in Berlin!

Hello friends,
Jule and I had a long day ahead of us!  We took a train early in the morning from Frankfurt Oder to Berlin. It's an hour away.  I created a monster!  Jule is officially a salsera!  She researched it and found 3 places for salsa dancing in Berlin!  She loves it as much as I do.  What a great pair!

We got to Berlin and we made sure to hit all of the major historical sites so we would have time to go salsa dancing in the evening and still catch the last train back to Frankfurt by 12:30AM.

At the train station in Frankfurt Oder about to start our day!

Jule and her dad!

train to Berlin

 Berlin Hauptbahnhof Station

Reichstag Dome
The dome is a glass dome with a 360 degree view of Berlin.  This is meant to be a direct representation of Berlin's attempt to move away from Nazism and to show a more unified, democratic Germany.  

A government building in Berlin ( Abgeordnetenhaus) 

EU flag and Germany flag 

Dem Deutschen Volke

This was the last man shot trying to go over the Berlin Wall!  Unfortunately  he was shot only  6 months before the Berlin Wall came tumbling down!

Brandenburg Gate

This is one of the remaining monumental gates located on the west side of Berlin.  Once you cross through the gate, you cross from the west side of Germany to the east side of Germany.  On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan made a famous speech to the west Berliners and said, 
"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear this wall down!"

Holocaust Memorial Berlin was built to remember the Jews that died before and during WWII  as part of Hitler's plan to exterminate them.  It is made of 2,711 slabs of concrete without any names or dates on them.

During the war, Germany went into an economic crisis and the Germans had a lack of food.  This is the ration of bread for 1 week for a family of 4.  The tape on the bread divide the ration by day and the family had to make it last.  Hitler then came from Austria and brought food and jobs for the German people.  He was their hero and this was one of the reasons the German people were so grateful and easily persuaded by Hitler.  Many people do not know this but Hitler was not German.  He was Austrian but he came to Germany!  

Adolf Hitler pics in the Berlin Museum

These bears are all over Berlin and is representative of Berlin.  

The little green and red men from the traffic lights are also representative of Berlin

The Pergamon Museum is located on the museum island of Berlin

Berlin Evangelical Cathedral

Berlin TV Tower
This monument was built by east Germany in 1969 to demonstrate it's  superior technological advancement.  

This is a popular, German fast food dish consisting of cut up hot pork sausage,  ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder.  This is usually served with pommes (fries).  

Hackescher Markt  and train station

We visited Hackescher Markt and they had vendors scattered along the street.  They sold everything from clothes, art, jewelry and food.  

Die Hackeschen Hofe (Hof means courtyard)

Die Hackeschen Hofe
also known as the Scheunenviertel is popular for Berlin's entertainment and club areas
This heritage site consists of 8 restored courtyards with access through the arched entrance.  

I think she's craving some gelato!! 

graffiti art in Berlin

The Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall 1961-1989
The Berlin Wall extended over 140 kilometers long.
Berlin is has some of the world's best graffiti painted on the Berlin Wall. Here is an interesting article in the NY times about the graffiti in Berlin.  It is the largest graffiti covered city in all of Europe.  Graffiti is celebrated as a very important part of the Berlin culture.  Before the Berlin Wall came down, the west side was covered in graffiti while the east side remained grey and untouched with paint.  Once the wall came down, artists came from all over the world to leave their mark and their art on the east side of the wall.

Spending time with Jule and her parents gave me a deeper perspective on what is was like to live on the east side of Berlin and what it felt like when the wall came down.  Jule's parents were both professionals with good jobs on the east side.  They didn't know what it was like to have an abundance of food so they didn't feel like they missed anything since they didn't have it to begin with.  The east side was so poor because that was the Russian side. The eastern side was stripped of all of the agriculture, food and money.  The west side was supported by Britain, the US and France so there was an abundance of wealth and a freedom for the people who lived there.  When the wall came down, Jule's parents were in disbelief. They could not believe that it was actually true.  They said the guards watching the wall were the last people to find out the wall came down.  They were caught by surprise as the wall was being flooded by people from the east, heading toward the gate to cross over to the west side (Berlin).  They were overwhelmed.   They said the number one thing that they noticed was their freedom and ability to travel not only to the west side of Germany but out of the country.

Here is a link to an article describing the day the Berlin Wall came down.,the-night-the-wall-fell--a-firsthand-perspective--feature.html

Outdoor Salsa Dancing in Berlin!  There is a big salsa scene in Berlin and we found it!

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