Some time ago I was posting photos from my last trip to Berlin, but I got distracted by Christmas holidays and being a tourist in Melbourne, and then by various other types of shooting - particularly the 20,000 or so photos of horses I've taken this year! But with another work trip to Germany on the cards for August it's time to finish off the last few batches of photos from Berlin, and then a short trip to Weymouth to stay with my Dad on the way home to NZ.
I'm struggling a little now to remember exactly what I got up to in Berlin! But being November it was getting a little cold, and getting dark quite early, which didn't make for great touristing. I was on a mission to see all of the main museums which I missed last time, and unfortunately it was pretty much dark by museum closing time, and I didn't get a huge haul of photos this trip. I found my self several times however at the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe), and spent some time exploring there in relative peace and quiet without the usual hordes of school kids running around spoiling the atmosphere. First thing in the morning is definitely the right time to visit.
Christmas decorations were starting to come out, including a nice big tree in the Gendarmenmarkt, by the French and German cathedrals (Französischer and Deutscher Dom). The first museum I visited was the Deutsches Historisches Museum, which I had seen last trip, but left too late and had to rush through the end of it. It was really interesting though, and well worth repeating... but then again, I have always liked history museums! So far I'm only repeating things i'd already seen - but I did make a special effort to track down some new and interesting foods for dinner - allowing of course for some Curry36 currywurst for lunch first. Anyway, my first good find was Burgermeister, a burger joint built into what used to be a public lavatory below the train tracks in the Kreuzberg district. I think they really missed a marketing opportunity though by not calling it 'Toilet Burger'... that's what I called it in my head at least...
My first 'new' musuem of this visit was to the Stasi Museum, the museum of the East German secret police, based in their old headquarters - an otherwise innocuous looking office complex in East Berlin, still kept in the latest 1980's fashions - including the board rooms, director's office, and cafeteria where the secret police generals would discuss the most effective ways of spying on and persecuting their own citizens. The exhibits themselves could have used some modernisation, but overall it was very interesting, especially the miniaturised spy cameras installed into hollow tree trunks, bird houses, briefcases (of course), and the guard rooms with radio dials whited out over all the 'western' stations they weren't allowed to listen to.
There was no light left for photographing after closing time, but I did still have fun walking around the city, re-orienting myself since the last trip, and looking for interesting places to explore, such as the dark alleys behind the Hackesche hof. And making a plan to fit in all the other museums to make the most of the remaining two days!