Berlin and Martin’s mind.

Berlin – mind blown

We are now a bit north of Berlin heading into the spectacular Mecklenberg lakes. My mind is still spinning from Berlin.  Image

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. 

10 comments on “Berlin and Martin’s mind.

  1. Hi Folks:

    I ran into your daughter Martin, just as they were leaving with the “Tree Bus” to catch the ferry on their way to Burning Man. They didnt have the time to talk.
    Your accounts of your trip in Germany sure makes me want to have a similar experience with Skookum.

    All the best

  2. Thank you for sharing Martin. What you wrote makes a person want to be very still for a moment to reflect on how amazing it is that we can travel to places now which were forbidden not so long ago. Wonderful article in the TC about the Tree Bus. I was so “mind blown” at the creativity. What a hoot they will have.

    Hugs to you both. . .Leann

  3. Hello Martin, Bob and I are sitting in the coffee house of Shawnigan as we have moved to the river. This was a very moving blog, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and pics. Hi to Barbara, Blanche

  4. Berlin, not to be missed the next time we pass through…..duly noted.

    Time- that crazy through-line; she muses as she scrolls down to leave a comment. Still under the influence of the Martin-induced time-space shift, she finds herself bungy-corded to Black Rock City by the comments at the end of the blog which catapult her out on the same favourable tide which carries the Tree House to Burning Man….

  5. Mind blown over here, Martin with your photos and stories. I too now want to get there and see it while I can.
    Danke! Joan oxo

  6. Wow — Berlin…great images… and did you encounter artists?

    In Hamburg, go to the museum by the blind…. it will wake up your other senses….

    have fun…. when do you return?

    cheers, Michael

    • HI Michael – we are back at the beginning of October – looking forward to not moving for a while – on our way to Groningen in Holland. Are you around this winter – I am planning a boat party in Jan/Feb for all our visitors to Skookum. See you in the fall – Love Ya B

  7. I spent an amazing week in Berlin..met a friend of a friend who spent four years in an east german jail, after being shot in the leg (his mate died) whilst trying to cross the wall….he is now an amazing artist. What a place to visit, with all its history.
    Love, Guy

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