Berlin – I , II, and III Berlin III – Monday, October 09, 2006

The day before I left Berlin, I went to Potsdamerplatz to visit the Musik Instrument Museum. Potzdamerplatz represents the latest and greatest in Berlin, and Berliners have many reasons to be proud of it. There is so much amazing architecture in Berlin. Mostly modern.

The headquarters of Sony, Deutsche Bahn and Mercedes-Benz, as well as an Berlin Philharmonic are all there. When you take the highspeed train from the center of town above ground, you can see, Potsdamerplatz because it look like a circus tent. It is only once you get very close that you notice, everything under the tent is made of glass, steel or is electronic. Although it is open air, 2 semi circular buildings are inside the tent, a fountain, an Imax and several movie theaters all the mass enterntainment stuff that people need.. I went with some friends on an earlier visit to see Das Parfum, the movie adapted from the novel by Susskind.

Across the street is another amazing building, without the steel and glass, but rather fans of gold, it is warmer, and mainly assymetrical. The insignia of the Berlin Philharmonic is inward spiral of a rotating pentagram, a highlight of the golden section, and the whole building has been done with the golden section in mind.

That is the amazing thing about this building, it is not large by any standard, but has a depth of quality that is hard to match. Everything is in proportion with one another. Add one thing or take one thing away, and the building ceases to be the same. Kind of like the cross between a lean-to, a boquet or a bonsai tree. Quite amazing, and very warm for a building made in the 50/60s

The pictures of the musik instrument museum inside the building:

those cembalo (piano looking instruments) are crazy indeed hm. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of them.

Berlin II

If I had to pick a spot to live in Berlin – it would definitely be Kruezberg, the Turkish center of Berlin (and likely for Germany). It is a lovely place, with the traditional architecture that a person would find anywhere in Berlin, and a very nice 2nd lived in feel to the place. There are many families and students who live there.

On each Tuesday and Friday, there is a giant Bazaar there, along the Spree river which is the largest turkish Bazaar outside of turkey. It is a straight line, which goes on for about probably 250 m. When you walk through it, the feeling you get must be the same as the feeling that newlyweds and football players get from running through a line as it is a narrow place.

I walked the whole length of it, and saw many stores repeat themselves, so I think it is a matter of where along the stretch you would want to buy things. Mainly 1 million cheeses, meats, fruits. The odd knick knack, and sometimes a belt or a box stall.
My favorite are the vendors who sell grapevine leaves. It is amazing that they are edible, when you see them soaking in the water flattened out.

The best part of Kreuzberg is the bakery, and there you have a bread which is circular like a bagel, but thin as a pretzel, about the size of a tea saucer. Thin and round, it is dipped in roasted sesame seeds and then baked. It is both sweet and salty inside.
The best, and it is unavailable in any other part of Berlin oddly, so I used to make express trips to kruezberg for them.

Berlin I

Germany is a complex picture, but I’ll write about the parts that I have encountered and know best.

My part of town in Berlin, was on a Hussemann Strasse, which is a part of the neighbourhood Prenzlauer Berg. The neighbourhoods in Berlin are all situated like numbers around a clock around Mitte (meaning middle), and PB sits northeast at about 1 to about 2:30 on this imaginary clock.

It is part of former east germany, so that when the walls fell in 1989, they were essentially tenements befitting of any eastern bloc country. Those tenements were quickly gobbled up, and have been converted into lofts and restaurants.

The part that I know really well in Germany is between my apt, and a place called Kollwitzplatz which is about 100 m down the road. It is a park named after the artist Kathe Kollwitz. In that park, what is amazing to see is kids learning to ride bikes and obsessed with soccer from about age 2 onwards. They do both, so well.

German education is quite remarkable, and these kids from an early age are brought many experiences, and allowed personal space. Because of responsibility and this negotiation, it is very common to see, for instance, kids age 6-10 riding bikes on the street with their parents on the roads, at st. corners etc. no problems.,,,, I told my german penpal, that in N.america, parents are likely to put their kids on a leash at that age.

The same holds true for animals, dogs for eg, are basically never on a leash,

Each day, I would buy a croissant and coffee and read at the park.

posted by alwinian at 4:28 PM

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