Viewing some of the other blogs I have seen in recent weeks, made me look a little more carefully at some of the details around the streets in Berlin recently, which was how I came to take some of these photos.
On a very wet day in Berlin, we ended up in the Kurfurstendamm, and spend the early part of the day at The Story of Berlin, including a exploring a nuclear bunker built in the 1970’s. Later we made our way to Kaufhaus des Westens, famously known as KaDaWe, and especially the amazing 6th floor food hall!
Anyone who has ever been to this store will be familiar with the stunning array of food of every variety. For example I had no idea there were so many types of tea, each elegantly displayed in beautiful ceramic tea urns.
Then there were long counters displaying cheese, fish, meat, fresh fruit and vegetable, eggs, you name it you can find it here. I would be curious to know how the turn around of each of these foods, as they were so many of every type, that you cannot imagine that everything would be sold before it ceased to be fresh!
Inevitably, we were drawn to the bakery and patisserie area, as well as the mouth watering displays of chocolates, candied fruits and decided we could not possibly leave the store without purchasing something for later.
However the other part of this floor of the store was the opportunity to stop at one of the numerous counters and sit and try the food sold at that point, whether it is champagne, shellfish, pasta, in fact there were so many different gourmet counters that I lost count! We had not intended to eat at the store, but the choice on offer was so tempting and smelt so good that we just had to try. We watched our food being cooked right in front of us, by the tireless chefs, and yet the busy staff spent time talking to every customer, making sure everyone had an great memory to take away with them!
A trip to this store is certainly a fantastic and memorable experience.
- My Top 10 Attractions in Berlin, Germany (lepopcornbleu.wordpress.com)
As anyone who has read this blog before will know, I love street art, especially the decorated animal statures that have frequented our cities in recent years. So when heading to Berlin I was looking forward to finding the various Buddy Bears that currently live in the city. So I was delighted to find “Welcome to ‘erlin” (someone had rubbed the B away) shortly after my arrival in the city not far from the Brandenburg Gate.
However many of the other Buddy Bears proved to be elusive, or maybe just plain ‘shy’. I did finally spot one near our hotel on Potsdamer Strasse but it was hiding behind some hoarding for some building work, and was only visible from the top deck of a double decker bus!
I did enjoy this colourful bear situated by the entrance to the cafe in the Ritter Sport shop. However to really indulge my desire to enjoy these bears I ended up studying the displays of models in KaDeWe and some souvenir shops!
- “Bear Surprise”: Art Exhibition “United Buddy Bears” (photovide.com) looks as if all the Bears have de-camped to Paris!
- Found my feet..just about! (berlinbyblog.wordpress.com)
One of the places that was high on our ‘must see’ list in Berlin was the Jewish Museum. I was fascinated by the story told by the architecture by Daniel Libeskind and I can fully understand why the building became a visitor attraction while it was still empty.
Descending the stairs between the old and new buildings you come to three pathways, which represent the three ‘choices’ of German Jews in the 1930’s and 1940’s. One of the pathways lead to a dark tower, lit only by a narrow strip of light high up, the tower, as we entered someone allowed the metal door to clang shut behind us … this is the “Axis of the Holocaust“.
The second pathway, the “Axis of Emigration” leads to the garden of exiles with its tall concrete pillars and uneven paths between them, representing the confusion and disorientation people must have felt as they tried to make a life for themselves in a new country.
The final pathway, the “Axis of Continuity” leads into the rest of the museum, and the exhibits relating to the history of the Jews in Berlin from their first arrival in 950.
Having toured the exhibition and going through the history of the Jews right up the present, including all the story of National Socialism era, Hitler and the Holocaust, we ended up at the Memory Void. The noise emanating from the void sounded like industrial machinery, and it was amazing to find it caused by the metal discs on the ground, clanking as people walked over them. Each disc was an open-mouthed face and it became very hard to walk amongst them without feeling very emotional. The installation by Menashe Kadishman is entitled “Fallen Leaves” or “Shalekhet” and represents all the innocent victims of conflicts in the past, present and future.
Anyone who visits Berlin, must go to this museum to have a greater understanding of Berlin today.
K promised me Sport when we got to Berlin, so we ended our first day enjoying delicious deserts here, before exploring all the yummy display downstairs. We were too late in the day to try to make our own chocolate, but the queue we saw on a subsequent visit showed us that this is a very popular activity.
Well, we finally made it to Berlin last week, and had a fascinating if exhausting time exploring the city, mostly on foot, although we did use some buses and the subway when we were too tired to walk any further!
Walking amongst the vast field of stellae deliberately built on uneven ground and of varying heights, it an un-nerving and thought provoking experience and despite the straight lines and clear view of a way out at any point, I found that I quickly lost sight of K even though he was not far away.
Beneath the field of stellae is the Information Centre, where you need to allow ample time to explore all the documents and information on show. Particularly moving was the Room of Dimensions where in backlit panels on the floor that reflect the stellae above, extracts of letters, diaries and last notes written by many who knew they were about to die were displayed.