Posts tagged ‘Berlin’
Along Friedrichstrasse in Berlin Mitte are department stores, shops, and boutiques which cater to more expensive and refined tastes. The central court in Quartier 206 opens the visitor to a sensory experience: geometric lines and patterns mixed into the smooth marble under a glass roof, the sounds of a piano at the base of the central staircase, and the smell of coffee brewing at the bar. I wanted to capture some essence of the building and interior without drilling a large hole in my wallet.
I made these photos on 18 March 2011 with a Canon EOS450D (XSi) camera fitted with a prime 50mm f/1.4 lens; the settings for both photos were 1/60-second, f/2.8, and ISO200. Quartier 206 is located between BVG U-Bahn stations Französische Strasse and Stadtmitte. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m apoplectic with rage if a person answers “Oktoberfest” as their first and only thought when asked what they think about Germany.
There’s nothing wrong with the raging keggers and oom-pa-pa at Oktoberfest or the beautiful city that is München. But there’s a lot more to Germany than Oktoberfest. Besides, there’s always the months-long Karneval on the Rhein …
As I’m very fond of the country and its people, I can be defensive when it comes to my “alternate” home that is the Deutschland. Yes, the people can be a little ornery, but break past their gruff orderly fastidious exteriors, and they are a lovely warm and generous people.
Sounds a lot like you and me, doesn’t it?
To encourage a different (and hopefully favourable) set of views about other parts of the country, here are five favourites while I’m in the big D:
I’m in Berlin to catch sunset’s silhouettes on Strasse des 17. Juni.
In Berlin, a ride on the upper-deck of either the 100 or 200 city-bus from Zoologischer Bahnhof will take passengers through many of the sightseeing and talking points of the German capital. As far as the Tiergarten park is concerned, many visitors will visit the Zoo, Brandenburg Gate, and the Siegessäule (Victory Column). Some time to see the Gate and Column illuminated at night are also worthwhile, but I like my silhouettes, too.
I’m in Hamburg to check what’s on store in the Speicherstadt.
Sitting adjacent to the river Elbe, Hamburg is a port-city with historical links to the Hanseatic shipping league. The Speicherstadt (Warehouse District) consists of 19th- and 20th-century brick warehouses, like proud markers of an island oasis on the river. If you’re interested in spices, the Spice Museum is where you can learn about how spices arrived and were traded within Europe. Today, harbour activities take place across the river on the southern banks of the Elbe in the Hafenstadt.
I’m in Köln for my favourite Turkish food.
An important thing I’ve learned from friends in Köln is the quality and variety of Turkish food. I’ve always tried to visit neighbourhoods where resident German-Turks go for their favourites. Whether it’s Müheim, Hansaring, Zülpicher Platz, or Ehrenfeld, it might be hard to pin down the best places to eat within a given “Kölner Kiez” (Cologne neighbourhood). Placing in front of me a plate with Döner meat or grilled Lambspiess accompanied by rice and salad is always a good way to start; a serving of Künefe is always a great way to finish.
I’m on the North Sea coast to gaze out into the open sea.
It’s easy to forget Germany has access to open seas which are a part of the nation’s history and Hanseatic traditions. About an hour north by train from Bremen, you arrive at the coastal town of Cuxhaven, which is a good place to start exploring the Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer). The area includes coastal mud flats, vital for conservation efforts of local wildlife. The site’s importance has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I’m up top at Zugspitze for big mountains and big skies.
Although the tallest parts of the Alps are located in neighbouring countries, an altitude of 3000 metres (9700 feet) on the German side isn’t so bad. The ascent to Zugspitze is worth the trip on its own, whether it’s with the cogwheel railway from Partenkirchen or with the gondola up from Eibsee. At the summit, you can pass between Bavaria, Germany and Tirol, Austria with ease. If you squint your eyes on a clear day, you can see all the way to mountains at the Austria-Italy border …
I made all of the photos above in the D-land. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
Travel always does a number on me, but it’s one of the reasons why many of us enjoy travel, even through the mechanics of traveling from A to B.
This morning, as I walked from Vancouver’s Chinatown to the Central library branch downtown, I’ve known these streets for decades, even through the years of absence. All the same, just 2 days earlier, I’d been roaming though the German capital city of Berlin, through the streets and neighbourhoods of Charlottenburg and Mitte, some of it new, a lot of it familiar, but knowing exactly where I was, anchored by my knowledge of the extensive U- and S-Bahn network.
This time, a 4-day stop in Berlin meant I should’ve stayed longer over the past week. Even though 8 weeks last fall were a great familiarization, they fell short of what was required. Still, the city whose urban and cultural spirit is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered has a very firm hold on me.
Ultimately, on Tuesday afternoon, there on Platform 3 in the bottom-level of Berlin’s Central Station, I left a piece of my heart and soul behind for her … and I boarded a train for a quiet 5-hour journey to Frankfurt am Main. After a 10-hour non-stop flight the following day, I’m right back where I began 3 weeks ago.
I’m changed, a little more broken, but a little more emboldened by the experience, too.
This post originally appeared on my Facebook profile on 15 August 2013. I modified the post and included my Instagram photographs from Berlin on August 12 for this post on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
In the past, I’ve often felt guilty for taking photographs at a cemetery, as if the act of opening and closing the camera’s shutter somehow “exposes and steals” the essence of people who are laid to rest. Only in the last few years have I overcome these feelings, as I now see cemeteries as beautiful places to visit and to witness frozen snapshots to individual lives over time. On this late-autumn afternoon, I stood in the middle of the garden, transported to a different place and a different time, surrounded by tranquility and living memories.
Große Hamburger Straße (or Greater Hamburg Street) was the key central road in what was once the Spandauer Vorstadt, which was the suburb or town at the foot of the former Berlin city gates. The road allowed for trade and movement from Berlin in the direction towards the nearby town of Spandau.
According to berlin.de, the area developed around the Hackesche Market and Courtyards:
Historically, development of the Höfe went hand in hand with the growth of Berlin as a thriving urban centre. The expansion started around 1700 from an outer suburb known as Spandauer Vorstadt, located outside the Spandau City gate which already had its own church, the Sophienkirche as early as 1712. Friedrich Wilhelm I built a new city wall here and the former suburb became a new urban district belonging to Berlin. Today’s Hackescher Markt takes its name from the market built here by a Spandau city officer, Count von Hacke.
The influx of Jewish migrants and the exiled French Huguenots gave the district the cosmopolitan diversity which it never lost. The first synagogue was built in this area and the first Jewish cemetery established on the Grosse Hamburger Strasse. Another name for the area, the Scheunenviertel (barn district) is associated today with up and coming art galleries and the more bohemian side of Berlin. The largest synagogue in Germany was built in nearby Oranienburger Strasse in 1866.
From 1672 to 1827, this was the oldest cemetery in Berlin for the Jewish community; Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), philosopher and a founding father of the Jewish Enlightenment, is buried here. During the last stages of fighting in the Second World War, 2425 dead were buried here in 16 mass graves. With no clear boundaries separating those buried in the past from those buried during the war, the new memorial garden was constructed and restored in 2007-08 with all of the buried left undisturbed as they were.
The present location was also the site of the first nursing home in 1844 for the Jewish community in Berlin. The Gestapo transformed the home in 1942 to a collection and staging point for prisoners, and ordered the destruction of the entire site in 1943. 55000 Berlin Jews from infants to the elderly were deported and murdered in the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Theresienstadt.
The Jewish Community in Berlin also describes (in German) the history of the cemetery here.
Visitors can reach the site with the MetroTram (M1, M4, M5, M6) to Hackescher Markt; with the Strassenbahn route 12 to Hackescher Markt; the S-Bahn (S5, S7, S75) to Hackescher Markt; the S-Bahn (S1, S2, S25) to Oranienburger Strasse; or the U-Bahn (U8) to Weinmeisterstrasse. After disembarking the train or tram at any of these stations, it’s a few minutes to walk to the cemetery, next to the Sophienkirche church.
I wrote previously about a visit to Berlin’s Jewish Museum, and in particular, about the sculpture installation “Shalechet” (Fallen Leaves).
I made the photos above on 21 November 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
Since 2004, the Festival of Lights have lit up various buildings and attractions throughout Berlin. The 2012 version saw 12 consecutive October evenings of another grand lighting display in the German capital city.
Bright colours and patterns illuminated many well-known landmarks including Potsdamer Platz (P), Brandenburger Tor (B), Gendarmenmarkt (G), Humboldt Universität (H), Berliner Dom (D), and the Fernsehturm (F). Many other places throughout the city had their displays, but my favourite occurred on the grounds of the now-vacant Tempelhof airport (T). The large ochre facade of the former terminal building provided a big backdrop for bright colourful images. The crowds here were small, providing a quieter atmosphere, as if we were all part of a well-guarded secret.
2012 also heralded Berlin’s 775th anniversary, celebrated in grand style at the end of October.
I made the photos above on 20 and 21 October 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.