Berlin has been a great destination. Since getting to Europe, this has been the first city that I’m revisiting. I notice a slight feeling of nostalgia and comfort coming to a place that is a little bit recognizable. And seeing some places that I had seen on my prior trip here was nice, whether it was the Tiergarten, which should be on the must visit list of anyone coming to Berlin, or a random bookstore in Savignyplatz that I happened upon with an old friend three years ago.
On my first day here, I saw and interesting series of landmarks and events. The first was Treptow Park, a memorial built by the Soviets in 1945, memorializing the loss of Soviet lives in WWII, and celebrating the defeat of Hitler and what lies ahead.
Although they couldn’t keep the USSR together for very long, they sure could build one hell of a park!
That rosy picture of hope and change came to an abrupt ending when viewing the various sites of what exists of the Berlin Wall, along with the citywide memorial/reminder, which is a two-brick wide path throughout the city that traces the length of the entire wall.
This image of a car parked over that brick path struck me. Although you could find this exact situation hundreds of times over throughout the city at any given time, this one caught my attention. Not long ago at all this area was no man’s land, and now it can be passed over without any thought or consequence. Its great that this division only exists on a more symbolic level today, but hopefully it isn’t being (and never will be) taken for granted to the extent that it’s forgotten.
Some more pictures of individual sections of the wall…one painted while still intact, the others as part of an art exhibit.
Much more current was the protest that I happened upon when exiting the u-bahn station at Alexander Platz. The crowd grew fairly large, and was protesting the NSA surveillance of the public, and the German government’s similar programs.
Quite an interesting day, seeing these three (very similar, in many ways) moments in time.
Later in the day, I checked out a museum of various motorcycles that came from the east. Interesting to see all these makes and models that I’ve never seen or heard of.
The majority of them were made by a company called MZ, and it looks like their trademark is some variation of the strange protruding headlight.
Here’s a few of the better examples
And this one might take best in show
Next day started at the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin. This place is nerd heaven.
Chances are there’s something here for everyone (planes, boats, trains, film, jewelry making, computers, textiles, brewing…the list goes on).
The section on aviation has exploded and cutaway engines, which I found pretty fascinating. The middle engine below had a crank shaft on either side, and two pistons would share the same cylinder, creating compression in the middle of the cylinder…interesting idea, but I wonder what the benefit of this design was.
All exhibits had pieces on display from various time periods, and in various states of restoration, included some that have seen better days.
Here’s an immaculate Ju 52, which if I understand correctly was all the craze among mannequins in the middle of the 1900s.
Massive steam engines from ships…
I didn’t spend much time in the area on trains (which seemed to be the largest portion of the museum), but this one caught my eye…built entirely out of wood, tracks included.
Nerdiest of all, chemistry equipment…just add Walter White and you’ve got yourself a party
Electric truck from 1935. This company started building electric vehicles 1906, but never caught on due to pollution not being a concern.
Various early computers, including the first, Z1, built by Konrad Zuse in 1938…this baby operated at 1hz! The next one here is Z3, built in 1941. Zuse opted for more electronic parts, as they were more reliable than the mechanical switches in his previous models. And the third is the Z23, which operated at a blazing 150khz and had 40kb of memory.
And last, but certainly not least, this beauty…a 1928 Windhoff. It’s 750cc, 4-cylinder, oil cooled motor was part of the frame, rather than mounted inside it. Interesting from a technological standpoint, and absolutely beautiful.
I finished off my time in Berlin with a tour at BMW Werk, which is where they build all their motorcycles. Definitely was a necessary stop on this trip. Unfortunately, but understandably, camera’s weren’t allowed in the actual factory.
Berlin’s been great, even the second time around, but I’m ready to move on towards Bavaria.