Sunday, 15 May 2011


Our visit to Berlin was extraordinary.  Harvey started by making a new friend on one of the stations.  He is one of the 'Berlin Bears'.

We visited some amazing places and I guess I was most impressed  by the way the German community are holding their hands up about the whole WWII situation and saying never again!  One of the first places we visited was the Jewish Memorial. The 'Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe'.  It is really fascinating.  It is a sea of cement blocks basically and from the edge it quite frankly, looks a bit boring.  Just blocks that your eye tells you are not very exciting.

There are signs saying that you cannot jump from block to block.  I assumed it was a respect thing until we started to walk along one side of the Memorial.  Our plan was to walk along the side and head for the Brandenburg Gate, but that was not to be.  It drew us in and made us think and talk about it ....a wonderful piece of art!

As we moved through the area we realised that the ground undulated and the blocks became taller and taller. We quickly realised jumping from block to block was a safety issue and not just respect!  Some of these blocks would have been 6 metres or more in height.  There were people wandering through it everywhere, but it was so easy to feel you were all on your own as they dissapeared in between the blocks.  You caught glimpses and then they were gone.  A powerful reminder of what happened to the people at that time.  Richard's thoughts travelled to the representation of the volume of the structures and compared it with the 'volume of people lost'.  I couldn't help but think of the mounds of shoes, hair, suitcases, glasses and clothes again!  As you walked through there were occasional glimpses of the surrounding environment, but in amongst these towers of rock it was cold, quiet and lonely.  The most amazing feeling and a brilliant memorial.

We continued our walk and visited the Brandenburg Gate next and started to get some ideas about how the wall affected life in Berlin.  One side of this gate you were in the east and on the other side you were in the west!

From Brandenburg we decided to visit one of 'The Wall' sites.  The part of the wall we first visited was the boundary between the East and what was the French Sector.  The land was a Cemetary and was taken into the no mans land area between east and west.

Part of The Wall still in its original position.

A memorial to those who died trying to escape.

Some original Wall art! it!

We wandered around town a little longer and then decided to take a train ride out to visit the Olympic Stadium.  Plan A was to just see it from the outside, but the Plan B option was taken and we went in!  I am so glad we did just for the photos we got!

The view from outside.

The gate

Harvey was relieved we went in because he got to make another friend!

The Stadium from inside.

Love this shot of the stadium.

..and this one from the opposite end!

The original gate post for the entry to the race track.

We saw through the gates, but couldn't go in.

We also visited the DDR museum, Checkpoint Charlie and lots of other places....all fascinating!  But I thought to finish the post I would add a few photos we took for our son Sam.  We saw this Bugatti in a shop window and thought Sam would be drooling so we went in and took a few photos!  (I know Sam, we are embarrassing but we weren't the only ones!)

Will be back soon with Ghent and Brugge and that will be our Spring break done almost in time for the Summer half term break in two weeks time!


Sam said...

Well done parents. That is amazingly gorgeous. I got a little excited.

(nice on the trip to the Hockey Stadium, I made sure we went to the one in Barcelona as well)

Coralie said...

I would love to see the sculpture... undulating ground... blocks ... wow! Do the blocks all look the same or similar height from a distance. Wow! I can definately see how they would great a mood as you walked through them... I too just keeop thinking of piles of spectacles and boots and luggage.... I want to visit this one too!
Winter is nearly with us. We are in a cold snap at present... quite cool. Bass Strait is sending us this one... it snowed in Victoria and it isn't even June

love ya

Ali said...

The blocks were incredible and yes they all look a similar height from a distance. It was very eerie, but at the same time thought provoking and moving!

We are moving into Summer here so some days my warmth layers have been reduced to a cardigan and a jacket! I am suspecting we are having pretty similar temperatures...cold winds and all!

Coralie said...

it warmed up over the weekend. We let the fire go out. Back alight tonight.

Big sailing weekend this weekend. Connor sailed an RL24 with its skipper... fell over board. The feet webbing gave way as he was hanging out... a big fright for him ... and me! But he did manage to get back on... even though Tony wasn't going to slacken off the sail too much! I was annoyed... but he only has to sail one more race with him then Connor will be sailing his spiral alone and racing beside him.... can't wait- me that is! His usual skipper is Jon who has a Hartley... will be back racing in a month. But I want Connor out on his own.
School a bit of a downer at present... I'm just not happy. Very out of my depth with PFA and SOSE...want to teach somewhere else.... such negativity everywhere! Robert still unemployed... did not get job in Mackay... negativity at home too!
love your blogs... wish it was me