Sunday, October 24, 2010

Labor Day in Berlin

Labor Day Weekend in the states usually marks the unofficial end to summer and although the American holiday naturally means nothing to Europeans, Lisa and I decided to celebrate anyway so we headed up to Berlin, Germany for the long weekend.   We arrived early on Saturday morning -- Berlin is only an hour or so away by air -- and after we dropped our things off at the hotel, immediately started wandering toward the major tourist attractions.  The highlights:

Large public square near Alexanderplatz.  The Fernsehtrum ("television tower") is the tallest structure in Germany and a throwback to the days when the East Germans intended it to be a symbol of Berlin. 

Brandenburg Gate.  A former city gate and one of the most famous landmarks in Europe.  When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the gate came to symbolize freedom and unity between East and West Berlin. 

Brandenburg Gate

The Holocaust Memorial.   Unveiled in May 2006 after years of wrangling over its design, scale, location, and cost.  There are 2,711 of those oblong, dark gray pillars of varying heights.  
Holocaust Memorial
  Beer Bike!  A stroke (ha!) of genius.
Beer friendly, bike friendly:  my kind of city!
The Berlin Wall.  Not so formidable anymore:  most of the wall has been reduced to a pair of cobblestones occasionally adorned with a plaque indicating what once was.
This is the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall that is still intact.

Racing toward the West!
The iconic Ampelmann:  The red one is welcoming you to Communism whereas the Green one is hurriedly rushing off to the factory. 

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