Friday, November 25, 2005

Berlin where the west meets east

yeah, really time to blog about Berlin (though 20 days late) This is done specifically for my Mexican friend, who is visiting Berlin for Christmas.
(though i didnt want to make my blog like another travelogue, doing a bit this time)

Yeah so Berlin isnt just quite like a standard european city, it being a capital for a long time is entrenched in history, as well as being an epicanter of the COLD war will the Berlin wall was around. (the reunification of germany was done on Oct 3, 1990. No i am not a history buff to remember these dates, it just happens to be my birhtday as well)

yeah so here in the western part, one sees display of wealth, all the trappings of a materialistic life, the american mall culture and loads of shopping arenas. But move to the east and one comes across a place wiht 14-20% unemployment. People living of government unemployment benefits.

See this funny car in east berlin (right) compared to the ones that are in the show room in west berlin. (Left) Also you can see the NOTICE at Checkpoint Charlie which was the old entry point between the 2 places. There is also a museum at that place dedicated to all those who tried to crossover the WALL and in memories of those hwo lost their lives.
This also speaks about the innovativeness of people. They used hot air balloons, made helicopters out of a motorcycle engine and a boat propellor and many other things apart from the mundane sneaking in a boot of a car and digging tunnnels

Also there was the little bit of wall remaining, which had on one side the open museum called the topography of terror, with pictures and clippings about Fuhrer Hitler and the war crime cases against his generals, which ony la few were punished and the rest were let go easily.

Also there is the beautiful bradenburger gate, where the allies came amrching form both ends (Russians form the east and Americans and Brits form the west)
This was unfortunately a part of the death strip in eats berlin, where any one venturiong would be shot at sight to prevent people form crossing over.

A little ahead is the Reichstag the seat of the parliament. (not posting their pics, u can always google for them)

Just a little further was the Potsdamer Platz. This place was barren land, right in the center of berlin and a death strip too, but today its a commmercial center with a lot of tall glass skyscrapers coming up, and is a show case of the comtemporary architecture.
Not your old fashionned cuboids, but really nice geometrical shapes.

This is the part where the westerners have made it ultramodern, and then walking a bit ahead you move back to the older communist regime.

Also we came across the university of Berlin, where Albert Einstein had taught for a few years before WW I.

The blog would not be complete without mentionign the wonderful A&O hostel and the african american Sean who we met there.

Sean was travellign across europe for a year or so. At the same time was making money as a tour guide. He gave us the best pitch for a guided tour ever, speaking about the hitlers bunker in the car park and giving insight in to the history of the place. Also he conducted another tour called the pub crawl where he owuld take you to 4 night clubs in east berlin, would have surely gone, but some one had cautioned me earlier about the safety issues. I still regret not going there.

Yeah thats Berlin for you.

I had also visited the Sachsenhausen Concentraiotn camp. That had a couple of barracks left the rest were destroyed. Also there were the old bunk beds and the prisons preserved.
It surely was a bit moving, but i do not have words to describe the exact feeling one got there. The closest one could say is spooky.

Another sorry for my readers as this time the pics asrent that great, its cause i didnt have my camera and akhsay has reduced the size of his pics so fit on his lap top.

Thus ...

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