Thursday, May 12, 2011

Berlin - Museum of the Berlin Wall (original post)

Today we slept in a little, it felt really good. First stop was the Potsdamer Platz. This has to be one of the largest urban renewal projects ever. This used to be part of the death strip and consisted of rubble. After the wall went down, mass construction was undertaken to show that a reunified Germany was open for business. There are apartments, there is mega-shopping, there is the Sony Center. It's all huge, stunning, new and shiny.

However, they don't cover it all up, there is a very long triangular shaped berm reminding us that this was the death strip. The kids love it; they run up, they run down.

We walked on. This is where Hitler's bunker was. It's underneath a car park for an apartment building; within sight of the Jewish Memorial, a gay sauna and a Korean restaurant. All of these things he would have hated.

This is somewhere - it's on the side of a large building. They've planted many things in the vertical, and they're tending to them.

The Berlin Wall Museum is well done. There are two English videos about the partition of Germany in general, and Berlin. They have footage of people escaping in 1961 as the barricades went up. One building's entrance was in the East, but the windows faced the West. As the soldiers were bricking up the windows on the lower floors, people were running up the stairs and jumping out of the windows. There's other footage of a young woman running through a barbed wire fence and cutting her face, but she does not care, she's out. The video of 1989 is also pretty cool, we've seen a lot of it in the US, but it's cooler seeing it here.

Most of the wall is down, but there is a section intact for the museum. It's next to the Sophia Parish cemetery. There was some controversy over what the museum should be like, and what should be retained. The Parish wanted most of the wall gone, because it crossed a mass grave for WWII bombing victims and they wanted to memorialize them as well. In the end, the Parish won the day and got the memorial they wanted.

As recent as 2010, graffiti artists were still at work on the wall.

It's a beautiful cemetery.

It's tiring viewing all the wall information. It makes me sad and then I get a headache from the lump in my throat.

After heading home, we stopped at Potsdamer Platz for toiletries and curry wurst. Jim felt that he needed to try this Berlin delicacy. It's basically a hot dog with red curry sauce. It's kind of good, I liked it more than I thought I would. Earlier we'd been in the mall to buy umbrellas. We got back to the hotel 30 seconds before the skies opened up and it rained sideways.

Tomorrow we will go to Dresden. We could spend many more days here, but the reservation is up and we have to move on. I just looked out the window, it's pouring again. Bummer since we have to walk to dinner.

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