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Posts tagged ‘My Berlin’

My Berlin: the buried Bibliothek at Bebelplatz

On a clear cool late-autumn morning, a young child is looking through an opening in the cobblestone plaza. She looks up to the man standing next to her.

Daddy, why is there a glass window? What happened here?

The thing to keep in mind is that this square in Berlin is called Bebelplatz (BAY-buhl-platz), and not Babbleplatz. It’s easy to make the mistake. After all, a great repository of books was once created inside the building seen above, in what was once home of the Königliche Bibliothek or Royal Library.

But then came along a large racist blather.

Accompanied by a big ugly fire.

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Friedhof Wannsee Lindenstrasse, Neuer Friedhof Wannsee, Friedhof Wannsee II, Berlin, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

My Berlin: Wannsee cemetery with Helmholtz, Fischer, Conrad

Above/featured: Friedhof Wannsee Lindenstrasse with Andreaskirche in the background.

I came here looking for a physicist, but I also found a Nobel-Prize winning chemist and a successful banker.

In the southwest corner of metropolitan Berlin tucked away under rows of leafy trees in a quiet residential neighbourhood in Wannsee is a small cemetery, next to a tall red brick church Andreaskirche. With the main (east) entrance off Lindenstrasse, the cemetery is called Friedhof Wannsee Lindenstrasse; alternate names include “Neuer Friedhof Wannsee” and “Friedhof Wannsee II.” Opened in 1887, the cemetery is one of the smallest in the city with an area about 1.9 hectares (19-thousand square metres) or a shade under 5 acres.

(My day trip to Wannsee was only one element of my “quick” 11-day hop to Berlin in autumn 2021.)

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My Berlin: Chinese-Canadian Q.J. Louie at the Commonwealth War Cemetery

Above/featured: Cemetery view facing west, from the shelter building to the Stone of Remembrance, Cross of Sacrifice, and Terrace in the distance (WCL-X70: 14/21mm).

There’s a presence from western Canada buried in eastern Germany.

In Vancouver, Canada, the H.Y. Louie family has long been a part of the Chinese-Canadian community and the overall merchant community. Their current business holdings include the London Drugs chain of stores and the IGA grocery-store chain; both are well recognized throughout greater Vancouver.

One member of the family is resting permanently 8000 kilometres away in Berlin, Germany. An important goal in my return to the German capital city is a visit to the cemetery where a member of the Louie family, Q.J. Louie, is buried. It’s never been a matter of if, but when I return to Berlin.

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Berlin: a quick 8000-km jaunt home during the pandemic

Above/featured: S-Bahn station Messe Nord/ICC – 27 Nov 2021 (X70).

I’m going home to Berlin, for the 1st time in 4 years.

To travel at all, and to go international, is a big privilege; I’m grateful for the window of opportunity.

After a long gruelling emotional 2020 year taking care of an elderly parent at home with cancer and accompanying them safely to their final days, I’m desperate to get outta Vancouver for a break. But another 9 months pass before the largest roadblock to travel is dissolved. At the end of October 2021, the Canadian government releases a digital vaccination certificate suitable for domestic and international travel. Within a week, I have a set itinerary using credits from a cancelled trip.

The following describes plans and unconventional sights for Berlin, Germany over 11 days in the 2nd-half of November 2021. As case counts change and situations evolve at both ends, travellers must remain vigilant with extra preparation and adapt to changing policies, protocols, and requirements by different countries for visitors, ensuring safe and smooth travel, out and back. I go over all guidelines supplied by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office and the city state of Berlin.

I’m not going to lug my DSLR camera and extra glass for this quick trip. Instead, I’ll only use my 340-gram (12-ounce) compact fixed-lens camera. In all respects, it’s a big weight off my shoulders.


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Siegessäule, Grosse Stern, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

My Berlin: 29 tracks for the German capital

Above/featured: Siegessäule & Grosse Stern, at night – 13 Nov 2012 (HL).

I compiled a list of songs accompanying my travel, a soundtrack that’s full of meaning and memories. This is another set, a listing of tracks I associate with Germany’s capital city. Music is always about personal selection, and every track fires a specific memory of time and place within Berlin. For example, watching “Lola rennt” (Run Lola Run) in a movie theatre in Toronto in the fall of 1998 planted the seeds for a move to Germany three years later. My first visit to Berlin soon after marked the beginning of a deep love affair with the “grand lady of BAER’leen.”

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My Berlin: that tower again

I like shiny pointy objects, and if it’s by deliberate effort or accidental circumstance, the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) finds its way into a LOT of pictures from Berlin. And if people throughout Berlin can see the tower, how do those who live in or commute through different parts of the capital city view the landmark? After documenting multiple visits between 2005 and 2017, here are over 40 lines of sight to the TV Tower from throughout the Berlin area.


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Mengenlehreuhr, set theory clock, Berliner Uhr, Berlin Clock, Sixt, Europa-Center, Budapester Strasse, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Hauptstadt, Germany, fotoeins.com

My Berlin: An Unusual (Set Theory) Clock

I had read about this unusual clock years ago; the unusual mathematics connection was an additional “plus”.

I leave the crowds at Gedächtniskirche and Breitscheidplatz and head on over to the SixT car rental outlet on Budapester Strasse. What’s standing in front is most certainly a curiosity, even as passers-by look at me curiously.

The Berlin Clock is known in German as “Berliner Uhr”. The alternate name is “set theory clock” or “Mengenlehreuhr”, a German compound word consisting of “Menge” for quantities (sets), “Lehre” for theory, and “Uhr” for clock. The Guinness Book of Records claimed “the Berlin Clock was the first clock in the world operating according to the principles of set theory1“.

Created by inventor Dieter Binninger, the clock first stood at the corner of Kurfürstendamm and Uhlandstrasse in West Berlin from 1975 to 1995. Local business arrangements were made with Binninger’s widow for a long-term loan including maintenance costs, and the clock was moved in 1996 to its present location at the Europa-Center.

Here is how one reads the Berlin Clock:

  • Top circle: light flashes every 2 seconds; ‘on’ 1-second, ‘off’ 1-second
  • 1st row: hour of day in 5-hour increments, up to 20
  • 2nd row: hour of day in 1-hour increments, up to 4
  • 3rd row: minutes in 5-minute increments, up to 55
  • 4th row: minutes in 1-minute increments, up to 4

Time shown in the above featured image is 1310 hours or 110pm, which breaks down as (2 x 5) + (3 x 1) hours and (2 x 5) + (0 x 1) minutes.

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My Berlin: Bornholmer Strasse, first through the Wall

By today’s appearance, it’s easy to overlook the bridge at Bornholmer Strasse (also known as Bösebrücke) as an historic landmark. On the night of 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall opened here first, at the Bornholmer Strasse bridge border-crossing between East Berlin and West Berlin.


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Perlin, Hackesche Höfe, Hackescher Markt, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

My Berlin: Hauptstadt Memories, 2010-2011

Featured: “Pe(a)rlin’ in Berlin”, Hackescher Markt – 16 March 2011 (HL).

Berlin is one of my favourite cities in the world. From the moment I stepped foot inside the German capital city for the first time in 2002, it’s been an ongoing love story. I’m convinced the “Hauptstadt” will always be worth photographing; it’s my “long game.” Naturally, there are a massive number of sights throughout Berlin, and I’ve always combined public transport with plenty of walking. In fact, traveling 10 to 20 kilometres per day throughout the city is pretty much the norm. These photographs are personal observations and measurements of location, geometry, and motion.

The pictures and memories may be from years past, but all of the them retain their contemporary nature: images which include quiet snowy Christmas, an important memorial, and pieces of architectural design.

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Booze Bar Berlin, Friedrichshain, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

My Berlin: get your drink on at Booze Bar

My friend, Anna, really likes this bar in her neighbourhood. I’m quietly skeptical that any bar is really that good, but I’m game for a drink tonight, and more importantly, I’m polite. The sign greeting us at the entrance is a simple hand-written sign.

“No Shisha, no HappyHour, no Shit: betreutes Trinken …”

“Betreut” has multiple definitions, including “curated”, “maintained”, or “looked after.” I (choose to) interpret the phrase “betreutes Trinken” as “customers will not be served shitty drinks.”

Booze Bar Berlin is already my kind of place.

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