Today I spent a little less time site seeing than I did in the past couple days to give feet and camera finger a break. The site seeing I did do was similar to yesterday in that I retraced part of the path we followed on our Berlin tour 2 days ago and once again I ventured off into a couple areas we only saw from a distance. I started my day at the Friedrichstrasse train station and spent it all in East Berlin.
One of the reasons I did the Brewer's Berlin Tours (http://www.brewersberlintours.com/) a couple days ago was because of comments about it by that young fellow from Indiana I met in Vienna back on June 4. I remember him talking about the tour, specifically him saying they spent most of the day in East Berlin. That sounded weird, maybe scary, to me at the time due to the history of the place. Even now after I've spent a bunch of time there, talking/writing about East Berlin still seems a little weird.
Anyway, my first stop this morning was the city's planning department where those neat 3D models of the city were located. I took a few more photos today, tried out there interactive computer screens, and picked up a few brochures. It also found out that they have some information on the web at the following URL:
This first photo is of the 3D model for Potsdamer Platz and the surrounding area, which makes much more sense now that I've been there.
The next couple photos are shots of maps that show the building density in Berlin in 1940 (first) and in 1953 (second). This makes the amount of destruction in WWII more obvious. Apparently 70% of Berlin was destroyed in the war. That makes all the construction going on these days a little easier because the don't have as many old buildings to remove or integrate with.
After leaving the planning department I headed towards the TV tower and along the way I made a few stops. The first was at this Catholic church which dates back before the WAR.
The map below was in the church and it shows where people are from that visited the church. I added my pin, but I decided to mark my home town in Saskatchewan instead of Calgary because Calgary already had a few pins and southern Saskatchewan was a bit bare, kind of like that part of the province!
The next couple photos are best described by quoting the words on one of the signs:
"That was only a prelude - where books are burnt, people end up being burnt, too." -- Heinrich Heine
This empty library is an open work of art, allowing for various different interpretations. The empty shelves at the same time mourn the loss of the burnt books and symbolizes the many works that remained unwritten or unpublished due to the persecution by the National Socialists.
The "United Buddy Bears" exhibition will be at this historic place for a few weeks to promote more tolerance and mutual understanding between different nations, cultures and religions.
Every single bear represents a United Nations member state. The artistic design of the "United Buddy Bears" intends to present the diversity and variety of all the different cultures. They all stand together hand in hand, with equal rights and very peacefully - a symbol of a more tolerant coexistence.
The empty library referred to above is below this glass panel.
The above glass panel is just above the bottom and to the right of center in this photo.
This is the Buddy Bear for Canada.
This is a new addition to the German History Museum.
There's the tower. I made it to the top and snapped a few photos from the observation deck and stopped for coffee in the restaurant. On the way there I stopped in at the church in the bottom left of this photo. The thing that was interesting/odd about that church was that the main isle was made of cash iron panels which are currently crudely spot welded together.
A view of central Berlin from the tower. Potsdamer Platz is in the upper left.
This is looking to the south east of the tower. Note the plain low density buildings. This is common in eastern part of Berlin.
The restaurant in the tower. One thing a bit annoying about it was that many of the windows were difficult to see out of due to the soccer ball look they've given the tower for the World Cup. The observation was much better.
One thing I won't forget about Berlin is the damage to the old stone buildings due to bullets and shrapnel in WWII.
During my travels I've come across many interesting cars and hardly mentioned them. This one is note worthy because it can go faster than any train I've been on! It's a Bugatti with 1001 horse power v16 engine able to push the car to a top speed of 407 kph.
The Bugatti was in a very modern auto mall which must have just opened because some floors are still incomplete.
That's about it from Berlin. I don't think my reporting over the last few days truly reflects the impact that visiting this city has had on me, especially since I think it will take a while for it all to sink in.
Anyway, early tomorrow I catch a train for Copenhagen, which will be the first of a few stops through Scandinavia.