Berlin – mind blown
Here be Skookum parked at the Reichstag.
Hard to know where to begin. Potsdam, the Glienicker bridge, KGB headquarters, Sans Souci, the Potsdam Conference at Cecilienhof, and then there is Berlin. As a young lad born in 1945 in the shadow of world war 2 and having formative years at the height of the cold war with tales from John LeCarre, Berlin figured at the centre of all intrigue.
The Bauhaus museum full of bullet holes.
The dark history hangs like a pall but recently according to people we talked with the Germans have come to grips with their past and rather than feeling guilt ‘kriegsschuld’ there is now a recognition that these things could and do happen anywhere and so the museums and displays determine to cast off the pall and have great displays of the darkness and how it happened so that it can be recognized. Symptoms are named such as –general population apathy, stifling of dissent, eliminating information, ‘with me or against me, thinking, vilifying any opposition, no room for informed debate and disagreements, legitimate dissent branded as treason. All sounding depressingly familiar.
There is the ‘Pathology of Terror’ museum describing the methods of the Gestapo and the SS. There is the Stasi headquarters where records may be searched. The concentration camps are now powerful memorials to the methods of tyranny. Sachshausen and Ravensbruck were on the path we followed. There is a new TV series ‘Our Mothers, Our Fathers’ that is proving popular examining the actions that led Germany down the path to fascism.
Sachshausen. Mind blown.
The Glienicker bridge where spies were exchanged both in LeCarre and in the real world. Gary Powers the most famous.
Skookum passing under the Glienicker Bridge. Note the two colours of green.
Then there are monuments to the cold war. Checkpoint Charlie with a funky museum of all the escapes and deaths at the wall.
Checkpoint Charlie today. Mind blown.
So you can perhaps get some appreciation for the fact that I have described our visit to Berlin as mind blowing.
The wall, the wall.
Barbara’s cousin Paul who was with us for a week at a piece of ‘Wall’ outside Checkpoint Charlie.
A Section of the wall with the numbers dead each year.
The Wall. How one day you would be shot for trying to climb the wall and the next day it became an irrelevant artifact of the past. Mind blown.
A bit of wall as memory.
And then of course as an architect there is the fact that the old East Berlin is still one huge construction site.
More cranes than Shanghai (but not Dubai).
Marie Elizabeth Luders Haus
And of course The Reichstag. Brilliant.
New Government offices going up by the bushel.
And all the time having this ‘from the water’ view.
One day we are moored alongside the old wall location and the next we are anchored in the Bay where Einstein sailed. Mind blown.
And I post this from Hamburg where we have just arrived and discover that Hamburg makes Berlin look like a sleepy little town.