Friday, August 21, 2009

European Tour 2009 part 8: Berlin


Day 10
3 August 2009
Hamburg - Hamburg-Hesse - Germany

Repacking right now to head over to the station. I can't believe these fucking Wessis don't know what a Waschsalon is. I blame Siemens, personally.

Friedenau - Berlin - Germany

I'm currently racing the clock to get my laundry done before the markets close so I can get some breakfast foods in. Until then, arriving pictures.

443. Ironwork at the Berlin Hbf.

444. Ad for a porn store in the train station. Not just the ad's in the station, the porn store also.

445. Out-of-focus mural in the Oranienburgerstrasse U-bahn stop after getting lost.

446. Yeah, you know we chill when...

447. Schönebergerbrücke. Two construction years, one in the late '40s or early '50s, is probably kind of common in this town.

448. View northish over said bridge. Nice and peaceful.

449. Gleisdreieck subway stop building.

450. Badass mural on the side of my hotel.

451. Church in Friedrich-Wilhelm-platz. There were probably closer laundromats, but this one (off the same subway stop as this church) got a good rec from Google, and I could actually find it.

452. Use this in your German class - with care. "Aber auch die Deutschen missbrauchen die Fälle!" - "Aber auch die Deutschen solche Misse korregieren!"

453. A memorial to victims of another age. A reminder to the huffers and puffers that the antisocial will always be with us, but who and why they unleash their hate and frustration against will change.


Day 11
4 August 2009
Berlin - Berlin-Brandenburg - Germany

454. Potsdamer Platz, crossing from U to S. Berlin has two complementary light rail systems that both do above- and below-ground, but very rarely share the same terminal when they meet up. I was heading to Unter den Linden, so I had to change from the U2 to the S1.

455. Brandenburg gate in the morning light.

456. Statue inside the gate.

457. Ampelmann series nr. 1: Bleib Stehen, Du Deppe.

458. Ampelmann series nr. 2: Sofort Ab Schon, Zecke.

459. Memorial on 17. Juni-Strasse.

460. Another clock, same place as the last....but I came prepared.

461. Soviet war memorial, and the final resting place of 2500 soldiers killed in the process of taking Berlin.

462. Military hardware flanks each side.

463. Caption for us non-Cyrillic-readers.

464. Memorial urns behind the monument.

465. An old view; the new memorial and the incompletely-destroyed Reichstag dominate a moonscape.

466. Back of the monument; all branches of the Soviet military are represented.

467. They apparently put lights in since I was last here, which must be quite impressive at night. I, however, had to keep going.

468. Red flower beds maintained by the city. For those who know Berlin geography and remember the old days, yes, the Soviets inadvertently built their main memorial in what turned into the Western sector. The British Army maintained it for them from 1949 until 1990, when it was turned over to the city/state of Berlin after reunification; the Russians built several other large cemeteries/memorials in their parts of Berlin and nearby areas of Brandenburg.

469. Modernistic building by the Reichstag.

470. "Dedicated to the German People". Flags here indicate government property; nobody else feels the compulsion to slap the schwarz-rot-gold on everything possible.

471. Memorial to Weimar-era representatives (many from the KPD and SPD) murdered by the Nazis.

472. Down Unter den Linden to the Fernsehturm. When I arrived yesterday, everything above the ball of the tower was lost in the clouds.

473. Life is a clay urn on the mantle. Time rolls on in Berlin, too.

474. Living statues getting made up for the day.

475. Fernsehturm again.

476. The police form up and get ready for another long day of chasing pickpockets and listening patiently to tourists whinge on in foreign languages.

477. Street to the UK consulate, permanently closed to traffic by vehicles much larger than a bicycle or pedicab.

478. Russian legation, Unter den Linden.

479. Flag up on the roof.

480. Statue of Frederick the Great, near Schlossplatz.

481. From Schlossplatz towards Alexanderplatz.

482. Humbolt University.

483. St. Hedwig's' dome, with horrible backlighting.

484. The front of the National Opera.

485. Statues (possibly both of Frederick the Great at different stages of his career, I didn't check too close) by a small park.

486. There's a museum for everything in this city....

487. Interesting brick church while crossing the Spree.

488. Onto this arm of the river.

489. The enormously impressive Berliner Dom.

490. In Schlossplatz. Mostly a slate, but a nice skyline too.

491. Museum of Antiquities.

492. While crossing Unter den Linden at Schlossplatz. As befits the national Lutheran cathedral of Prussia, this church really jumps out at you and proceeds to beat you to the ground.

493. Historical museum - impressions of the Wall.

German Historical Museum

494. An I.M. Pei staircase. I take so many architecture pictures, I might think I'd missed my calling, except for the part where I can't draw a straight line, period.

495. Roll of photo prints from the "Monday demonstrations" in Leipzig.

496. Statues of Marx and Engels photographed at the Wende with appropriate graffiti that didn't come out. Front: "It wasn't our fault." Back: "Next time it will be better."

497. Communist industrial enviro-devastation. This is near Lauchhammer in southern Brandenburg, not in Montana or Kazakhstan.

498. Klose's boots from the 2006 Germany-Poland game. This was at the end of a long exhibit on German-Polish relations, but the rest is better seen in person.

German Historical Museum - permanent exhibits

499. A reminder of the good old days - before the Huns.

500. Roman altar. The opportunities for Euro-Americans to reach out and touch their heathen past at home are somewhat limited.

501. History erased; a Roman altar to Victoria, with effacements.

502. Medieval swords.

503. A hand-copy of Bosch's Last Judgement that didn't come out as well as I thought it was going to.

504. Weapons from the farmers' revolt that caused Luther to write his best-titled work, Against the Thieving, Murderous Hordes of Peasants.

505. Ornate shutters. This building was originally built by the Prussian kings as a treasure and trophy house (hence the name Zeughaus, closely translated as "house for important stuff") and later used as an armory, but the original shutters have stuck through the transition back to a (now public) museum.

506. Royal dwarf of the Hapsburg court.

507. Caption for the above, explaining how it was a necessary part of Baroque princely culture to pay an official court midget to hang out at your place.

508. The Vincennes flag, awarded to the city of the same name for capturing Louis XVI as he tried to flee from the French Revolution. What is this doing here instead of in Paris?

509. An abortive early attempt at a machine gun. As with others, the "rapid fire" part works, but the "rapid loading" still eludes the designers.

510. Original iron-cross emblems from the Landwehr who drove out the French in 1813.

511. Napoleonic amputation manual. Br00tal.

512. Heavy arms of the first World War.

513. Not a horror movie poster, anti-Spartacist propaganda. "The Spartacists are horrible devil-monsters, not normal German soldiers who want a government based on social justice! Join the Freikorps and shoot them in the face!"

514. Not all Germans were anti-Semitic, as these leaflets show: "72,000 Jews died at the front! German women, don't mock the suffering of your countrywomen!"

515. ...but there's also this... ("Your current rulers...if you want change, vote German National!")

516. ...and this.

517. Hyperinflation: stamps go from 5 pfennigs (0.05 mark, for the bad at math) to 10 billion marks in 4 years. A nice keep-your-damn-hair-on to our current right.

518. Court transcript from Hitler's judgement/sentencing in the Beer Hall Putsch. Note that his profession is listed as "Schriftsteller", a freelance writer, neither gainfully employed nor doing anything as macho as his later mythology and hagiography would like to pretend.

519. Anti-Nazi poster from '32 - "End the Nazi murder plague!"

520. More anti-Nazi literature from the end of Weimar.

521. And of course also Nazi crap from the same period.

522. Once in power, they took over everything, even the traditional socialist May Day celebrations. This is NATIONAL labor day, not international labor day now.

523. Just who were the Nazis and how did they set themselves up? This poster shows.

524. Der Stürmer - "the Jews are our misfortune" special issue. Special issue? I thought that was kind of the whole point behind this stupid rag - did they ever put out an issue whining about someone besides the Jews as the root of Germany's problems?

525. Official Nazi race-classification chart. First you try to make sense of it, then you start laughing at the absurdity of it, and then you stop laughing because about 11 million people were murdered because too many idiots took this bullshit seriously, and where you came out on a chart like this might mean the difference between survival and a bullet in the back of the head in some forest in Poland or the Ukraine.

526. Genius Loci - the spirit of the place. Powerful even as it is, and more so in situ in the museum.

527. Ribbentrop's globe, symbolically damaged by the liberators.

528. German air-defense maps.

529. Halifax motor assembly, recovered from one of the lakes around Berlin. Note the splintering of the wooden propeller blade.

At this point, I was asked to stop shooting flash, so I did.

530. One of the famous 88mm FlAK guns. (yes, it's an abbreviation; FliegerAbwehrKanone)

531. "For shame, you hamstress!" Best. anti-hoarding. slogan. evar. Unfortunately, it didn't come out as well as I'd've liked due to the flash ban.

532. "Das Letzte Gesicht" - "The Last Face", secretly carved out of a block of oak by a concentration camp inmate and hidden to preserve the record.

533. A corroded V2 engine.

534. Half mosaic, half sculpture: "Trümmerfrau". This piece has a special resonance for anyone who's spent significant time in Dresden.

535. Postwar drama: a set model for Mutter Courage and the sleeve of a costume from Nathan der Weise. Because I am an unrepentant and slightly anorakish Brechtian.

536. Divided Germany: the West, the Wirtschaftswunder,....

537. ....the East, not so much.

538. NVA (National VolksArmee, not the Cong's uniformed buddies) field jacket and AK-47. When I was in Dresden, most of the Ossis I worked with were, like me, too young to have put this uniform on. Only their boss, pushing 50, had done his "Bundeswehr" in this gear.

539. Ok, they have a Trabi to complement the VW on the western side, but it's kind of hidden. (To prevent younger visitors from going "Woot Trabi!" and getting the wrong impression? People didn't like these cars before they became cult.)

540. What's wrong with this map? It's full of those nice happy 1950s-children's-encyclopedia symbols, and then you notice that the goddamned Wessis still haven't gotten used to the Oder-Neisse border.

541. This part of the Wall hasn't been broken up to be put into tourist paperweights yet.

542. Original protest banners from the days of reunification.

I can highly recommend this museum, but be prepared for a lot of hiking.

Berlin, outside again.

543. Rotes Rathaus from a little closer.

544. Spreeblick.

545. Church in the shadow of the Fernsehturm.

546. Rotes Rathaus, full on.

547. Dudes blowing giant bubbles.

548. Fountain below the TV tower.

549. ...and straight up.

There were a lot of goths hanging around here, but not shot, because goths are not animals to be stared at. Hippies on the other hand....

550. Look across to Alexanderplatz; same as ever.

551. Leopold von Dessau statue, right by the Mohrenstrasse (yes, Carrot Street, I'm not making this up) U-bahn stop.

552. Weird architecture, Mohrenstrasse.

553. Bundesrat building across a vacant lot.

554. Holocaust memorial. The pattern of stones at different heights recalls, probably intentionally, Jewish cemeteries in Israel.

555. A look into the depths.

556. At the bottom.

The get-lostness of this is overrated, but it still gets some Americans, as I overheard. "Where's the exit, where's the exit?" IT'S A FUCKING GRID HOW DO YOU GET LOST IN A GRID. "Getting lost" isn't the point; the point is the depths in the middle that you don't see moving among the stones at the edge. And then you're in too deep, and if you have claustrophobia at all, you feel buried beneath these giant masses of stone. You also don't see other visitors in the depths from the outside, not until you're all in the bottom together.

557. Potsdamer Platz, looking a different way.

558. What the hell? I thought he was from Gelsenkirchen? The name of the station, translated, is Uncle Tom's Cabin, which has a lot more to do with Stowe than Sodom. Still, I had to go collect this, though it's out on the ass end of the U3 line in Grunewald.

559. Nice architecture in the Neidstrasse, Friedenau.

560. Church at the end of the street that I missed the first time through.

No comments: