Sunday, February 27, 2011

Willkommen in Deutschland

First stop, Berlin.  It is still one of our favorite places we've visited.  Thousands of years of history meet in Berlin; from ancient artifacts in the museums, to Hitler's "grave" and the Berlin wall, etc.  We'd definitely recommend it to any and all travelers coming to Europe and would recommend at least three days there.  Marijke's uncle Scott and his girlfriend Sandra wrote a great article about traveling to Berlin, check it out here.

Also, remember you can click on photos to see them larger, then click a second time to make them even bigger.

We were riding the train from Copenhagen to Berlin when all of a sudden the train stopped and they told us we had to exit the train.  We got off to find ourselves on a ferry.  We were really surprised as the ticket woman told us we wouldn't be taking a ferry on our trip.  It was really odd to have train tacks on the ferry, but it was nice to stretch our legs and eat some snacks.

A few train stations.  The Hauptbonhof (main train station--picture on the left) was massive and really modern.  The others were more historical and cute with interesting architecture, old tiling, etc.

We took a walking tour of Berlin and highly recommend them.  They're a great way to get to know a new city and make sure you hit all the big sites.  It really saves time when you can just follow a guide who knows where they are going and you get to learn all kinds of interesting background information about the buildings you're seeing.  They're also great resources to find out practical info like where to eat, etc. 

 The picture with Marijke in it is a museum today, but Hitler gave a number of speeches to Nazis from those steps and the photos of the huge rallies of Nazis were mostly taken here.  We ended up smiling in a lot of our Berlin photos, but it was a little weird as it is filled with such heavy history.

From top left going clockwise:  an interesting comparison between an idealized Nazi vision of Germany and a photo representing reality.  A monument remembering the "Book Burning",  it is supposed to represent a sterilized and empty library.  You have to look down into the ground to see it.  The statue was interesting as the hooded figure doesn't actually have a figure inside, just empty space--if we remember correctly, it's supposed to represent loss and suffering and sorrow of all people and the artist didn't want to portray a specific person.  A good example of non-exciting Nazi architecture.  Old facade of the Reichstag.

Top row, left to right: History Museum on "Museum Island," the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Richard on the bridge going to Museum Island with the "TV Tower" in the distance, street performers making bubbles on Pariser Platz.
Bottom row, left to right:  the US Embassy to Germany (had to get my fingerprints taken), train station, Brandenburg Gate and Richie's Currywurst.

Berlin Wall

Checkpoint Charlie 


The Reichstag Building--we went at 9 pm hoping to avoid a long line and still waited an hour to get in.  We're glad we got to go, though, as it's been closed to the public due to terrorist threats.

 A chocolate Reischstag

The Sony Center


Lori Smith said...

Wow you guys have seen a lot...really cool buildings in Berlin

byuhotmama said...

You guys are having an amazing visit! I took the train to Berlin with Kirt and Launa when I was 17 years old, July 1978. We slept on the train overnight. It was eerie as we woke up to a stopped train, no lights, out in the middle of no-where, but were allowed to get off to stretch our the middle of the night. Then we started again, and continued on until about 7:00 AM. We went behind "the iron curtain" as this was before the wall came down. We went through "check-point Charlie" and Kirt and I were allowed to walk, but since Launa was Canadian, she had to take a bus tour. I mailed a postcard from East Berlin. It got to Orem, Utah FIVE YEARS LATER!

Marijke said...

Wow Aunt Martha, what an experience! I can't believe they still sent it 5 years later. I hope you kept it. Where were you coming from on the train?

Alison said...

You guys are doing the coolest stuff! I love the look of that Reichstag building and how funny to take the train to the ferry. You guys are so cool. I tell people all the time about how you guys are over there. Which reminds me, I took a picture of a couple of candy bars today... I need to send it to you guys. Rich should recognize them.

Young People in Love said...

Just found your blog :) What amazing adventures you two get to go on! Super cool.