Berlin Must Sees: Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

3 11 2007

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a protestant church, located at the Breitscheidplatz, one end of the famous Kurfürstendamm boulevard, in the center of former West Berlin. The church was damaged in the war, and left in ruins as a monument to peace and reconciliation.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

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Berlin – City of Lights

1 11 2007

Paris may be usually known as the city of lights, and it is true that most cities look more impressive when night falls, but this year we got a special treat, and came to Berlin during the third annual Festival of Lights.

         Festival of Lights.

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Hello from Berlin…

25 10 2007

You probably noticed we did not update the blog for a few days now. Well, due to lousy planning and a flood of irrelevant events from the uninteresting realm of everyday life, we have flown off to our yearly vacation, in Berlin, natürlich, without preparing enough posts in advance. But I cannot leave you with nothing for this whole period, can I… So here are a few teasers for our new crop, which should last till the next visit…. (yes, we’re kind of killing ourselves for the Cause…)

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The Spree River

8 10 2007

The Spree is the river that passes through Berlin. The river runs through Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlin, and is approximately 400 km in length. Its source is on the Czech border, and its final portion runs through the city center of Berlin, and joins the Havel River in the western quarters of the city.

The Spree River. The Spree from above.

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Berlin Must-sees: Nikolaiviertel (Nikolai Quarter)

4 10 2007

Nikolaiviertel is a small district in the historic center, part of Mitte, near Alexanderplatz. The district, which borders the Spree River, contained some of the oldest buildings in Berlin before it was destroyed in WW2. Its reconstruction began only on 1979, as a part of the preparations for the city’s 750th anniversary, and took 8 years.

Nikolaiviertel from above.

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Berlin, Alexanderplatz – the novel

28 09 2007

Berlin Alexanderplatz is a novel by Alfred Döblin, published in 1929. It is a story about a small time criminal, Franz Biberkopf, who at the beginning of the book had just got out of prison, his struggle to become a good rehabilitated citizen, and his road back to the underworld. It is situated in the Alexanderplatz district, which was a working class district in 1920s Berlin. It’s really a wonderful book, that besides telling a captivating story, also gives you a very tangible feeling of the time and place.

Döblin was a German expressionist writer. His father, who abandoned the family when Döblin was 10, was Jewish, and he held leftist political views, so when the Nazis came to power, he lived in exile in France, and then in the USA, like many other German intellectuals and writers.

The novel was adapted twice into a movie. The first time was in 1931. The author himself worked on the adaptation, and it was directed by Piel Jutzi. It was 85 minutes long. The second time was in 1980, when Rainer Werner Fassbinder (quite an fascinating character) adapted it to a 15 and a half hours long film. Yes, 15 and a half hours. You read right.

Anyway, I really loved the book, and think it’s very worth reading. If you wish, you can purchase it on Amazon. Just click on the picture to do so.

Belin, Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin

Berlin: Capital of Hospitality

27 07 2007

My Berlin is the most hospitable city I’ve ever been to. This was the impression I got, from almost the first minute after I landed. I come from a “warm”, but not very strong in politeness and civility, place, so most European cities seem calmer and more polite in comparison. But we are led to believe certain things about the Germans, which do not co-exist with hospitality.
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