Berlin, Germany

Overnight the snow had disappeared with only some traces of white evident.

What I encountered on my walk to Aleksanderplatz was black, dirty footpaths that were very wet. The temperature in Berlin is not currently low enough for the snow to settle for a period of time.

The weather today was nice, even thoughit was overcast. The temperature was around 2°C which was comfortable for walking around exploring!

I walked to Aleksanderplatz to buy the Berlin Welcome card which provides discounts to many museums, attractions and restaurants.

The first attraction I saw was the Berliner Fernsehturm – a TV tower which has a panoramic view of the city at 203m (the tower itself is 368m tall).

The views were fantastic and there were explanations below the windows of what was out that window pane. A very clever idea!

TV tower
Berlin Cathedral
Berlin Cathedral

Brandenburg Gate

DDR Museum (Deutsche Demokratische Republik i.e. German Democratic Republic)An interactive museum that provided an insight as to what life was like in pre-unified Germany. Well constructed and extremely interesting to walk through. I learnt so many new things! It was interesting to learn that many thought certain things in the DDR/GDR were better than in the West. For example, childcare and pre-school were apparently well organised, nudity was very welcomed at beaches (not sure if this is a positive or negative…  )

“The Kitchen. If the Socialist woman was to go to work and still be a domestic goddess, she would need some serious kitchen technology. Almost every household had an electric fridge with an ice box. The juicer and mixer were electric, only the washing-up was still done by hand. Dishwashers were as rare as hen’s teeth. With standardized fittings and furniture, the centre of domestic life could look a little uniform. Ever resourceful, mother filled what space she had with an eclectic range of quirky ornaments – clay pots, brass pans and even a string f onions. If the meals no longer tasted like Granny’s cooking, at least the kitchen looked the part”
“The Border. Iron Curtain. A barbed wire line traversed Germany from the Lubeck bay to the Frankenwald. Established by the Allies as the end of World War Two, the GDR transformed this border in a high-security fortress. Securing the 1,378km inner-German border cost billions. The Easter side was “protected” by watchtowers and mines, signal fences and automatic guns, and was patrolled by thousands of border guards. The guards had clear orders to shoot anyone trying to escape. Hundreds of people died.”

Checkpoint Charlie

“Berliner Mauer 1961 – 1989” – translates to ‘Berlin Wall’ and states the period it stood, dividing the East from the West.

Jewish Museum

Jewish calculating table. “Calculation tables are like this one were used by merchants and traders in the Middle Ages. From the end of the 15th century, people of the German-speaking regions calculated with such tables or with calculation cloths. They added, subtracted, multiplied or divided ‘on the line’, meaning they did not calculate with numbers but with calculation coins. The lines, working from top to bottom, stand for ten thousand, five thousand, one thousand, five hundred, one hundred, fifty, ten and one. By moving the calculation coins up and down these lines, the amounts can be worked out “

Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate (German: Brandenburger Tor) is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, and one of the best-known landmarks of Germany. It is built on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel.

It is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin within Mitte, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building, which houses the German parliament (Bundestag). The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which led directly to the royal City Palace of the Prussian monarchs.
Throughout its existence, the Brandenburg Gate was often a site for major historical events and is today considered not only as a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace.
It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and built by architect Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791. Having suffered considerable damage in World War II, the Brandenburg Gate was restored from 2000 to 2002 by the Stiftung Denkmalschutz Berlin (Berlin Monument Conservation Foundation).

During the post-war Partition of Germany, the gate was isolated and inaccessible immediately next to the Berlin Wall. The area around the gate was featured most prominently in the media coverage of the tearing down of the wall in 1989, and the subsequent German reunification in 1990.

Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral (German: Berliner Dom) is the short name for the Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church (German: Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin) in Berlin, Germany. It is located on Museum Island in the Mitte borough. The current building was finished in 1905 and is a main work of Historicist architecture of the “Kaiserzeit”.

The Dom is the parish church of the congregation Gemeinde der Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin, a member of the umbrella organisation Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia. The Berlin Cathedral has never been a cathedral in the actual sense of that term since it has never been the seat of a bishop. The bishop of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg (under this name 1945–2003) is based at St. Mary’s Church and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin.

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie (or “Checkpoint C”) was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991).

GDR leader Walter Ulbricht agitated and maneuvered to get the Soviet Union’s permission to construct the Berlin Wall in 1961 to stop Eastern Bloc emigration westward through the Soviet border system, preventing escape across the city sector border from communist East Berlin into West Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the separation of East and West. Soviet and American tanks briefly faced each other at the location during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.

After the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and the reunification of Germany, the building at Checkpoint Charlie became a tourist attraction. It is now located in the Allied Museum in the Dahlem neighborhood of Berlin.

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