And now I'm in Berlin once more! I've been working hard in the library, trying hard to finish the next chapter, and hubbster is at his electrical engineeringy type thing conference ;) Yesterday I had a sudden urge to visit some of the touristy sights, something I never do any more here, and I packed up my books and headed off to the sun. It was in a slightly inconvenient position at the Brandenburg Gate, but that didn't dampen my mood :)
A bit like the Eiffel Tower and Paris, or Buckingham Palace and London, the Brandenburg Gate is pretty much one of the biggest icons in Berlin. It was built during imperial Germany, and stands at the entry to Unter den Linden, which was one of the grandest streets in Berlin, lined with Linden trees. During the division of Germany it was in the west, but very close to the wall. You can read more here about its history. On the other side you can just about make out Tiergarten, which is one of Berlin's big parks. I used to love walking around it in the summer, but haven't been for a few years now! I love the Brandenburg Gate, it's normally heaving with tourists but was relatively quiet for me yesterday and I enjoyed it in the sunlight.
Literally around the corner is the Holocaust Memorial, which opened on 12th May 2005 (here). There is a very moving exhibition underneath it, incorporated into the architecture, but I didn't go there as well. Again, it was pretty quiet so I walked around contemplatively. There was a lot of debate around the monument, but I won't go into that now. I just think it's a very striking site, it always leaves me feeling a bit numb to be honest, all the grey concrete. The floor level changes, as does the height of the concrete blocks so it can be a bit disorientating at times - I suppose that's part of the plan though. I found the warm sun as I emerged from the center comforting, almost a sign of hope.
I then headed through Alexander Platz, stopping briefly to take yet another picture of the other big Berlin symbol:
... and headed down to Friedrichshain, where the largest piece of remaining Berlin wall is located. Nowadays it is called East Side Gallery, and as the name suggests, is covered in pictures by artists from across the world. Here are some of my favourites:
It was so nice to just meander almost without agenda, I'm going to try and be dutiful in the library tomorrow and explore some other places I tend to neglect. Thanks for bearing with my 'Berlin ramblings' :)