Spending Some Time Abroad: Berlin, Germany

Willkommen in Berlin!
Willkommen in Berlin!
The Reichstag Building home to the German Parliament and amazing free guided tours!
The Reichstag Building home to the German Parliament and amazing free guided tours!
Paying close attention to my audio guide.
Paying close attention to my audio guide.
The inside of the Reichstag Dome is pretty spectacular. The building itself is a combination of old and new: the outside edifice has been preserved since the late 1800s but the dome was constructed in 1999.
The inside of the Reichstag Dome is pretty spectacular. The building itself is a combination of old and new: the outside edifice has been preserved since the late 1800s but the dome was constructed in 1999.
The top of the dome. To our surprise, it is an open air structure. Rain and snow are collected in the giant collection duct in the center of this photo.
The top of the dome. To our surprise, it is an open air structure. Rain and snow are collected in the giant collection duct in the center of this photo.
Although the light was not the best when we visited the Reichstag Building, I could still peer down into the parliament, which is housed directly below the dome.
Although the light was not the best when we visited the Reichstag Building, I could still peer down into the parliament, which is housed directly below the dome.
Less than half a kilometer from the Reichstag Building  sits Berlin's most iconic sight: Brandenburger Tor (Aka Brandenburg Gate).
Less than half a kilometer from the Reichstag Building sits Berlin’s most iconic sight: Brandenburger Tor (Aka Brandenburg Gate).
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. 2,711 stone slabs rest in central Berlin. The memorial opened in 2005,  60 years after the end of WWII.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. 2,711 stone slabs rest in central Berlin. The memorial opened in 2005, 60 years after the end of WWII.
Solitude.
Solitude.
Another iconic sight: the Victory Column. The column commemorates the Prussian victory in the Prussian-Danish War. Remember that one from history class?
Another iconic sight: the Victory Column. The column commemorates the Prussian victory in the Prussian-Danish War. Remember that one from history class?
A closer look at the top of the Victory Column.
A closer look at the top of the Victory Column.
The city's iconic and proudly displayed flag.
The city’s iconic and proudly displayed flag.
It's important to the German people that they have excellent TV reception to watch their beloved Bundesliga. Futbol is king across Europe but especially in Germany.
It’s important to the German people that they have excellent TV reception to watch their beloved Bundesliga. Futbol is king across Europe but especially in Germany.
Old meets new.
Old meets new.
If you love history, as I do, Berlin has to be on your list of places to visit. The Prussian Empire, the rise and fall of the Nazi Party, and the Cold War. This city and the German people have been through it all. Pictured here: a section of the Berlin Wall as it stood during the Cold War.
If you love history, as I do, Berlin has to be on your list of places to visit. The Prussian Empire, the rise and fall of the Nazi Party, and the Cold War. This city and the German people have been through it all. Pictured here: a section of the Berlin Wall as it stood during the Cold War.
Topography of Terror. A free museum centered on the atrocities and genocide committed by the Nazi party during the middle of the 20th century. This was a very powerful museum.
Topography of Terror. A free museum centered on the atrocities and genocide committed by the Nazi party during the middle of the 20th century. This was a very powerful museum.
Located on the excavated ruins of some of the Nazi Party's most important buildings, (SS Headquarters, Gestapo Offices, and Reich Security Offices), the Topography of Terror takes visitors on a year-by-year journey through the rise and fall of the Nazi Empire.
Located on the excavated ruins of some of the Nazi Party’s most important buildings, (SS Headquarters, Gestapo Offices, and Reich Security Offices), the Topography of Terror takes visitors on a year-by-year journey through the rise and fall of the Nazi Empire.
History explained.
History explained.
A chart displaying the various patches worn by discriminated peoples during Nazi rule.
A chart displaying the various patches worn by discriminated peoples during Nazi rule.
Tourist Trap #1 (In my personal opinion): Checkpoint Charlie. Formerly a check pont between East and West Berlin, Check Point Charlie has been preserved and appears, for the most part, as it did during the Cold War.
Tourist Trap #1 (In my personal opinion): Checkpoint Charlie. Formerly a check pont between East and West Berlin, Check Point Charlie has been preserved and appears, for the most part, as it did during the Cold War.
Careful son, you must pay 2 Euros to touch.
Careful son, you must pay 2 Euros to touch.
One cannot travel to Germany and not sample the national beverage.
One cannot travel to Germany and not sample the national beverage.
The Pergamon Museum was well worth the wait. Although, we did not have to wait 3 hours. I can understand how that would drive someone to madness...
The Pergamon Museum was well worth the wait. Although, we did not have to wait 3 hours. I can understand how that would drive someone to madness…
Why was the wait 3 hours to get into the Pergamon Museum? The answer is simple: The Ishtar Gate. This photo does not do this structure justice. It was absolutely stunning.
Why was the wait 3 hours to get into the Pergamon Museum? The answer is simple: The Ishtar Gate. This photo does not do this structure justice. It was absolutely stunning.
The Ishtar Gate was the one of eight gates into the ancient city of Babylon. Originally constructed in 575 BC, the gate has been reconstructed within the Pergamon Museum.
The Ishtar Gate was the one of eight gates into the ancient city of Babylon. Originally constructed in 575 BC, the gate has been reconstructed within the Pergamon Museum.
Yet another perspective.
Yet another perspective.
These lions, which appear on both the gate itself and the precessional way, were intended to intimidate visitors and impose the power of the city of Babylon.
These lions, which appear on both the gate itself and the precessional way, were intended to intimidate visitors and impose the power of the city of Babylon.
After exploring for a few hours, Mattie and I began referring to the Pergamon Museum as "the museum of really big things." In addition to the Ishtar Gate, the museum also houses the Pergamon Alter, an ancient Greek
After exploring for a few hours, Mattie and I began referring to the Pergamon Museum as “the museum of really big things.” In addition to the Ishtar Gate, the museum also houses the Pergamon Alter, anĀ enormous structure complete with a highly detailed frieze that used to adorn the city’s acropolis.
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The Aleppo Room. These wooden walls used to serve as a wealthy merchant and broker’s meeting room. There are Arabic inscriptions as well as snippets from the Old and New Testaments. During the 1600s when this room was constructed, Aleppo, in modern-day Syria, served as the meeting place of east and west.
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A more detailed shot of a side panel in the Aleppo Room.
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The famous Mshatta Facade. This 8th century facade used to cover Qasr Mshatta’s desert palace in Jordan.
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An impressive piece from the Islamic art collection of the Pergamon Museum.
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More pieces from the Islamic art collection.
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More pieces from the Islamic art collection.
Olympiastadion Berlin (Aka Berlin's Olympic Stadium). Located on the outskirts of the city, this stadium hosted the 1936 Olympics.
Olympiastadion Berlin (Aka Berlin’s Olympic Stadium). Located on the outskirts of the city, this stadium hosted the 1936 Olympics.
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Mattie and I took part in the VIP Tour where we were granted special access to the luxury boxes, dressing rooms, and conference center. However, we visited on a day when English tours were not available. So we hung in the back of a German tour and tried to blend in.
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Adolf Hitler watched Jessie Owens win 4 gold medals, including the 100 meter dash, from this raised podium.
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Down to the staging area of the pitch.
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This is what the players see as they take the pitch.
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You’ve got to keep your boots clean!

 

Lacing up my boots.
Lacing up my boots.
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Although the exterior facade has remained nearly untouched since 1936, the stadium did receive a new roof prior to the 2006 World Cup.
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The main entryway into the stadium.
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An absolutely stunning stadium.
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The stadium is home to Berlin’s top Bundisliga team: Hertha Berlin. A look at their 2014-2015 kits.
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The Berlin Wall Memorial.
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Looking down on a preserved section of the Berlin Wall, as it stood from 1961 through 1989. This observatory also provided a great view of the Berlin skyline.
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In the 1985 the Church of Reconciliation was destroyed to clear a path for an increasingly fortified Berlin Wall. The Chapel of Reconciliation now stands where the church once did.
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The inside of the Chapel.
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Tunnel 57 was one of the many secret tunnels that connected East and West Berlin. This particular tunnel was one of the most successful in the history of the Berlin Wall, successfully ferrying 57 individuals to safety.
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Charlottenburg Palace. This former Prussian Palace was the brainchild of Sophie Charlotte, the wife of a powerful king.
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The crowns housed in Charlottenburg Palace.
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In addition to an impressive palace, Charlottenburg Palace is known for its expansive gardens. Sophie Charlotte was obviously very fond of horticulture.
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Charlottenburg Palace from the gardens.
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Berliner Dom is Berlin’s most famous cathedral. The omnipresent TV Tower can be seen in the background.
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The Neues Museum, located on Museum Island in central Berlin, houses one of the most complete collections of Egyptian art including the famous Bust of Queen Nefertiti. Unsurprisingly, there was no wait to enter this museum. Everybody was standing in line to view the Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum.
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The Neues Museums’ extensive collection of sarcophaguses, including a piece from Northern Europe (Front left) and Ancient Rome (Front right).
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The Neues Museum provided an extensive collection of Roman artifacts found in Egypt. This coffin head is one stunning example.
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Thank goodness for zoom! Although tourists were forbidden from taking photos of the Bust of Nefertiti, I couldn’t help trying to snag a shot from a distance.
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One of my favorite shots of the trip: taking a different perspective can sometimes yield unexpected results.
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In addition to the Bust of Nefertiti, the Neues Museum is known for their collection of Early European art and artifacts. The Golden Hat has been dated back to the Bronze Age and is made entirely of thin gold leaf. Archeologists think that this hat was worn by deities or priests when worshiping the the Sun Cult, which common during the time period.
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