Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Holiday - Germany (Day 4)

It’s our last full day here today, before we take the two-hour train journey tomorrow, to Hamburg.

The weather forecast is cloudy but at least dry, and we’ve got a few cultural places to visit, so we’ll probably spend most of the day inside.

As the day turned out, the weather held, and we did all-but-one of our visits without the aid of the Underground at all - preferring to walk everywhere (that’s most unlike us!)

First stop was the short (and only) Underground journey today - The German Technical Museum. This was full of planes, trains, model trains, boats, model boats, and everything else nautical - even a fully working industrial loom. A massive place, spread across four floors with plenty to interest kids and adults alike! And there were plenty of both there to prove the point!!! We could easily have spent another couple of hours there, and still not seen everything.




















The German Technical Museum

After a quick coffee, it was then off to our first art gallery of the holiday - Kulturforum. 



We weren’t sure what would be on display, but fortunately for us, a large part of it was devoted to the ‘Old Masters’. And it was particularly impressive with room after room of paintings, probably the largest we’ve ever seen (so large in fact that my camera battery ran out of juice trying to snap them all!)







 
‘Old Masters’ at the Kulturforum

Then it was a short walk to Potsdamer Platz and and the Sony Center - a mini shopping area, full of futuristic looking buildings and eateries - including a 30 foot Lego giraffe (of course!)


The Sony Center, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

After a quick refuel at McDonald’s, next on our cultural list was the Holocaust Memorial, a rather odd looking memorial consisting of 2711 concrete slabs (no, we didn’t count them!) arranged in a grid pattern across a 19000 square metre site. I must admit, neither Ann nor I ‘got it’ in terms of what it was supposed to represent - it just looked like a jumble of concrete slabs. But we felt a lot better afterwards, when we learned that the Designer, one Peter Eisenman describes it as ‘a confusing and uneasy atmosphere’ and an ‘ordered system that has lost touch with reality’. A perfect description then! In spite of its bizarre visual nature, it was good to see some recognition of this atrocity, especially in Germany!

What is this?
The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

Next up, was a longer walk to the TV Tower, but by now our choice to walk everywhere today was starting to tell and we decided that we give it a miss, in favour of a quick look round the Rathaus nearby.

The Interior of the Rathaus in Berlin

After our final coffee stop of the day to reflect on today’s visits, we headed back to the Apartment, just as the weather changed to a bitterly cold wind and a sky promising rain. After a slight detour to pick up some essential provisions, we were back in our room getting ready to pack for our onward journey tomorrow.

Cheerio Berlin - it’s mostly been a lot of fun, but in spite of a lot of great architecture, we thought you looked a little drab and unattractive in places. We were surprised too, that it was often easy to tell whether we were in the old ‘east’ or ‘west’ of the city - we guessed (maybe naively) that unification would have blurred the lines a bit more than it actually did!

Hamburg tomorrow!