3 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Brandenburger Tor
This potent symbol of German reunification has been recently restored and it looks fantastic. The gate, including the Quadriga sculpture, was constructed in the late 18th Century and was dismantled in 1806 by the French under Napoleon and taken to Paris.
It was returned in 1814 and the Germans declared it a symbol of Victory and added the Prussian Eagle and Iron Cross to the Quadriga. For over 40 years it stood between a divided city.

 


4 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Humboldt University
This 18th Century University has been home to many famous scientists over the years, including Rudolf Virchow, Robert Koch, Max Planck & Albert Einstein. After World War II the University resided in the Russian Sector and difficulties encountered by students in the Western Zone led to the establishment of the Freie University in 1948.

The square opposite Humboldt University (see Google Earth) - called Bebelplatz - was where the Nazi propaganda machine staged the infamous book-burning act on 10 May, 1933.

 


4 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Berliner Dom
This elaborate Protenstant Cathedral was built at the turn of the 20th Century. This was the first blue sky we had seen since Prague and we made the most of it!

 


4 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Freude am Fahren
Our replacement car is smaller and safer than the Volvo we had been driving - and it has Satellite Navigation which we had wanted from the outset. We have found driving in Berlin (and Germany in general) to be extremely easy and parking for a day is less than the cost of a single all-day public transport ticket.

This car is a 2005 320d with a 2.0L diesel engine - something they don't sell in Australia (yet). It sounds like a small tractor when idling but that's where the similarity to farm machinery ends... it goes like a rocket!

 


4 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Fernsehturm
This 365m high 1960s TV Tower is a familiar landmark in Berlin
and can be seen for miles. It was built during the Cold War to symbolise the East's superior technological prowess (a claim undermined by the fact it was largely designed by the Swedes). It looks like something from a 60s science fiction film, particularly at night.

 


4 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Jewish Museum
A wonderfully designed building by architect, Daniel Libeskind, houses a museum dedicated to those that suffered during the Holocaust. The buildings exterior and interior design reflects this suffering and torture. The cuts in the exterior seen above symbolise a fractured Star of David. The interior is accessible only via an underground passage from an adjoining building.

 


4 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Jewish Museum - Interior
An example of the tortured interior designed to reflect the torment and suffering during the Holocaust. The floors are sloped, as is the ceiling and you always feel purposefully disorientated. A fascinating place.

 


5 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Pergamon Museum
This museum houses one of the most famous collections of antiquities in Europe. The most well known is the Pergamon Altar, to which the musuem owes its name. This photograph shows a museum curator carefully cleaning and restoring parts of the original glazed bricks that decorate the processional walls leading to the Ishtar Gate from Babylon, another exhibit within the museum. These bricks date to the 6th Century BC.

 


5 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

A Space Odyssey
Certainly awe-inspiring at night. We travelled to the observation deck but the weather didn't allow much of a view.

 


5 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

TV Tower Foyer
The foyer of the tower is just as fabulous. Plenty of glass and metal with many strange designs - very 1960s - I like it.

 


6 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Siegessaule
The triumphal column was built to commemorate victory in the Prusso-Danish war of 1864. After further victories in the following decades the golden statue (Goldelse) was placed on top. It originally stood in front of the Reichstag but was moved by the Nazis in 1938 to its current location.

 


6 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Potsdamer Platz
New Berlin is thriving and areas such as Potsdamer Platz have seen fantastic architectural works and parklands appear from what was previously the 'dead zone' between the walls that separated the former east & west. In Google Earth you can see just how many construction sites are in and around Berlin at the time of the aerial photos. The dead zone in parts has been somewhat of a gift for reunified Berlin where land is scarce. A fixed percentage of the land must be for public parkland.

After seeing many tourist sites we spent many hours wandering the many beautiful buildings and shopping arcades in Berlin. This city is a hive of activity.

 


6 January 2006 - Berlin, Germany

Potsdamer Platz
Following the fall of the wall in 1989, many locals wanted to completely destroy the barriers which separeted them - and understandably so! Some areas have kept parts of the walls preserved, and where they once were are now either cobble stones or modified pavement. This graffitied side of this segment faced west Berlin with the 'dead zone' to the left. The piles of dirt and the dirt on the ground is a mixture of dirty snow and gravel (for pedestrian traction in winter).

We'll stay in Munich until Friday 13th when we'll drive to Frankfurt Airport.