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4:07pm on Thursday, 29th May, 2008:

Berlin Vignette


I'm waiting at Tegel airport ready to come home. It's a little more crowded here than it was at Stansted when I left:

The Hotel Ellington where I was staying had a rather minimalist interior. Here's the view from my room door:

The corridor was even longer in the opposite direction, but there was someone in it so I didn't want to annoy them.

The colour scheme for the rooms was white:

Hmm, no... Make that WHITE.

It was a non-smoking room. They seem very keen to keep it that way, too:

And so to Berlin itself, at last. I didn't know which architecture would dominate: Imperialist Prussian, decadent 1930s, Nazi monumental hubris or cold-war austere. It was none of these, in fact: it was a kind of post cold-war modern. Even the large, showpiece buildings like the chancelry were all glass and dressed concrete.

Here's a shot from inside the Reichstag:

The Americans keep the burn marks in the Whitehouse back from the days when it offended British architectural sensibilities so much that we burned it down. The German keep the grafitti left by the Russian soldiers that captured the place in 1944.

There's a huge, Flash Gordon-style laser gun in the centre of the Reichstag:

All they'd have to do is to rotate the dome so it was a dish and then boom! Dead planets would fall from the sky.

This is a picture from inside one of the meeting rooms used by the social democrat party:

The image of the swastika is banned in Germany, but this one seems to be acceptable because it dates from before the war and shows people being crucified on the symbol. Very prescient...

This is something else that doesn't look as if it should be legal, but seems to be:

I was in two minds whether or not to photograph this big but impenetrable sculpture:

Then I saw the lost London taxi in front of it.

Here's a picture of one of the few memorable Berlin landmarks:

I knew this was in Berlin before I came, having seen pictures of it many times before. However, what I didn't realise until I got here is that the new tower is hexagonal.

These little guys are on some of the German pedestrian crossings:

They used to be an exclusively East-Berlin thing, but now they're spreading throughout the city. My theory is that communist central planning managed to over-order for them, and somewhere there's a warehouse with a million of them waiting to be rolled out.

One abiding impression of Berlin that I'll come away with is the wide, tree-lined boulevards. I really liked them:

Proof thet there is no god:

If there were, this building would have suffered its own, private meteor strike.

Dotted around Berlin are decorated bears:

Their job seems to be to stand in the way of photogenic buildings.

Sometimes, they don't have a bear and have to use a tourist instead:

I don't know what this guy was filming but he didn't move the whole time I was in this square.

OK, so here's a picture of a statue that has its own roof:

I don't know why.

Something else I don't know is what "Wedding" means in German:

Here's a picture of another death ray:

I think this one is only for invading spacecraft, not entire planetary systems.

Berlin is a rather sprawling city. The Charlottenburg Palace where I took the photo 4 above here is over 3km from my hotel. The Wagner statue that follows it is another 1.5km from the hotel in the opposite direction. All in all, I must have walked something like 15km (10 miles) today. That doesn't alone explain these strange scratch marks on my shoes, though:

Maybe I should think about public transport next time...

Things I didn't take a picture of because I didn't want to get beaten up:

Referenced by Magdeburg Vignette.

Referenced by Pictures of Leipzig.

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).