Seems I already went back on my word of 2 months ago and forgot to keep posting and catching up on photos from my last trip to Germany! Not many more left to go now, but since I'm in Europe again for the last three weeks I've taken many thousands more photos, and getting increasingly far behind in my photo publishing! Tempting to forget about these photos as a lost cause now, but well if I don't publish them, they'll never see the light of day! Maybe this batch today isn't the most exciting, but there are one or two still to come from the last trip that I'm quite proud of. Even worse, I still haven't posted about the last Horse and Rider portrait session I did with Tiffany, or the video work I've been doing with Sven for the Bokeh-Monster, or even my winter road trip and snowstorm in the deep south! One day I intend to stop procrastinating...
This day in Berlin, like a lot of my days in Berlin, was a day of museums and memorials. Maybe that's not what everyone else does in Berlin, but there are enough of both to keep me busy for weeks. I started with an early morning U-Bahn ride to the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial) at the site of the infamous Bernauer Straße crossing, where many people escaped to freedom in the early days of the wall when it looked much less imposing than it became. At the very start, they just bricked up the first floor doors and windows of every house along the street - leading to plenty of footage of people jumping down from higher stories to freedom in the West. That didn't last long.
The complete section of the wall above was preserved by rapid action of the government the day before German Unification in 1990, declaring it a historical monument while walls were being torn down all over the city. The wall itself was much more than a simple wall, as can be seen here - it was continuously developed and 'improved' over the years into quite a fortification, with tall concrete climb-proof barriers, razor wire, electrical signal fences, steel spiked floors, dog patrol lanes, sand floors to show footprints, flood lights, and tall towers with machine gunners inside. The memorial itself stretches much further down the street, including foundations of buildings torn down to fit the wall in, an earthen church where the Church of Reconciliation famously stood in no-man's land between the two sides of the wall until it was destroyed in 1985, photos and memorials of the 138+ people killed crossing the wall, and video displays of people escaping to freedom in the early days. Overall the memorial was really good, a lot more to see there than just a piece of wall left behind. Definitely recommended in Berlin.
The rest of the day was filled with museum visiting as I attempt to cross more off the list, particularly the remaining ones on the famous Museuminsel 'Museum Island'. This time I covered the Museum for Photography with it's excellent Helmut Newton galleries, and the Altes ('Old') Musuem on the island. This is housed in a very impressive Neoclassical building by the famous architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, built 1823-1830 next to the Berliner Dom. I enjoyed the museum, but its collection is mostly of ancient sculptures, which isn't my preferred source of culture :)