Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Our European Holiday - Berlin day 3 & 4

 For other signs from around the world please check Tom's blog

Day 3

We started our day with a visit to the Jewish Museum in the suburb of Kreuzberg. The 3500 sqmt ( 38,000 square feet) building, opened in 2001, is the largest Jewish Museum in Europe, and presents the history and culture of Jews in Germany from the Middle Ages to today.

The fragmented design of the building by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind is intended to symbolize the extermination of the Jewish culture in Germany.

The Jewish museum building

Aerial view of the Jewish Museum (photo from net)

 Fallen leaves - more than 10 thousand "faces" with open mouths made with iron plates cover the floor of the ground floor void.

Jewish superstars - Sigmund Freud, Leonard Cohen, Albert Einstein, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Golda Meir, Charlie Chaplin...

Where did the Jewish could emigrate to?

After the visit we had lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant, then it was time to catch the underground to Hallesches Tor to visit the East side gallery - Berlin's open-air gallery, which is reached via the Oberbaum Bridge (Oberbaumbrücke), a double-deck bridge crossing Berlin's River Spree, which is considered one of the city's landmarks. It links Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, former boroughs that were divided by the Berlin Wall.

The pedestrian area on the side of the bridge. Last photo the bridge from afar

From the bridge I spotted Molecule Man, a 30mt high (100 feet) statue designed by American artist Jonathan Borofsky. The aluminium sculpture of 3 men leaning into each other in a circle, symbolizes the coming together of the districts of Kreuzberg, Treptow and Friedrichschain.

The East Side Gallery was fantastic as expected - at just over 1,3km long, it's the longest continuous section of the former Berlin wall still in existence. Immediately after the fall of the wall, 118 artists from 21 countries began painting it and the gallery was officially opened in September 1990 and has now protected memorial status.

Outside a pub just before the East Side Gallery

As we looked at the murals we noticed a row of Trabants (East German cars) driving by slowly - cardboard cars as they were known then...


Across the road is the Mercedes Benz Arena, a sports and musical venue. In the square where it was located there were a lot of cafes/restaurants and we sat down for a drink and some sweet therapy.


In the square of the Mercedes Benz arena, I came across this very clever sign - Love/Hate which on the other side could be read as Hate/Love.

Love/Hate sign and the Mercedes Benz Arena in the background

After our short rest we caught a bus to the Mitte district to visit the DDR Museum by the River Spree, just across from the Berlin Cathedral (Dom).
It was for us the best museum we visited in Berlin, and we learned a lot about life in the former East Germany.

Inside map of the DDR Museum

The inside of a typical East German apartment

An office from a Stasi employee

Trabi jokes :)

3 Girls and a Boy - Outside the museum the life-sized statues by German sculptor Wilfried Fitzenreiter  sit on the wall over the River Spree, across from the Cathedral.

We had an early light dinner at a restaurant not far from the Museum before walking back for about 20 min to our hotel to pack our bags and have an early night, as we would have to get up at 3am the next day for our flight to Lisbon.

Ham and egg on toast, Curry wurst with chips and salad with Pretzel(?)

This next statue was seen next to the Friedrichstrasse railway station, probably on our first day walking around Berlin and it's a very moving statue. Called the Trains to life/trains to death, it commemorates the Kindertransport Memorial (children’s transport) rescue mission that began nine months prior to the outbreak of World War II. Through this effort about  10.000 mainly Jewish children were able to escape from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland and taken in by British families. 
The 4 boys and 3 girls, five of them looking in one direction and two in the opposite direction, reflecting the contrasting fates of the children.
This statue as well as others by the same sculptor in London, Hook of Holland and Vienna, was designed by artist Frank Meisler who himself was one of the lucky kids rescued by this mission in 1939.

Trains to Life, Trains to Death

Other signs seen in Berlin:

Time for Taiwan, might have been seen in front of the Taiwanese embassy

We love Berlin

Day 4

We woke up at 3am, the taxi picked us up at 4am and we reached the airport shortly after 4,30am. Our flight to Lisbon was at 7am, but with airport delays we thought it best to be there a little bit earlier and we were almost the first ones in the queue.

We loved our short visit to Berlin and I wish we could have spent more time there, as there was still so much we wanted to see, but we also had to spend time with family in Portugal.

The sun rising on the horizon as seen from the airport

Coffee shop - Last chance to taste Berlin - Lego man, BER that stands for Berlin airport, and tower of Jägermeister, a herbal liqueur made in Braunschweig.


  1. I suspect it looks so contemporary because so much was damaged in WWII. You've had a fascinating trip!

    1. You are right Jeanie, so much destroyed and newly rebuilt. It was wonderful!

  2. ...Sami, what a trip you enjoyed, for me it would have been a sensory overload!

    1. A sensory overload for sure, as well as we had to run around during 3 days to see most of what we wanted to see. Thanks for hosting Tom.

  3. So sad we just visited the railway exhibition.

    Maybe Berlin ... Berlin is worth a visit for sure.

    The Jewish Museum sounds... like I want to visit.
    At school we learned mostly but data about Hitl#r, but nothing much about what he really did to people, other than I had to say openly I am sorry.

    Would love the DDR-Museum.
    The Trabi-jokes are great! Fun to find Jägermeister :-)

    1. Thanks Iris. I'm sure you would enjoy Berlin, such a vibrant city, and I found it very safe too. We had a lot of fun in the DDR Museum. Funny finding the Jagermeister at Berlin airport :)

  4. A city I would love to explore. Beautiful shots.

    Have a fabulous day and rest of the week, Sami. ♥

  5. Gostei de ver os teus registos, Sami. A correr, mas resultou ótima.
    Dias de primavera bons e felizes.

  6. You had a well choreographed visit to Berlin.

    1. It had to be Marcia, due to only having 3 days to do most of it :) A bit exhausting but worthwhile!

  7. What a wonderful trip you had. Love the museums and the sculptures. My wife's father was born in Berlin but left in 1944. and never returned.

    1. Thanks Bill. I can imagine he must have had some traumatic experiences.

  8. Such a magnificent city with so many arts, sculptures and signage posts! Love the photo journal you have shared here!

    1. Thanks Roentare, I'm so glad I visited Berlin, loved it all!

  9. It's good to keep a section of the Wall intact and to use it in that manner.

  10. Replies
    1. Faz pensar no que aquelas pobres pessoas passaram...

  11. Dearest Sami,
    That was an intense but very good discovery of Berlin!
    It has never been proven that Charlie Chaplin was of Jewish descent...
    But you forgot a real big star—the Jewish Elvis: Pop Singer—Neil Diamond!

    1. Thanks Mariette. Oh yes Neil Diamond of course, love his music :) There were hundreds of names there of course. Chaplin's name was there too...

  12. Este 'post' é espetacular!...
    Deixo um convite Terei muito prazer em a receber
    na minha ''festinha'' no A Vivenciar...
    Vai gostar. Bom fim de semana ✨

  13. The final days in Berlin sound wonderful. I think I could have spent two days at the Jewish Museum alone. I know we (mainly Roosevelt) turned the Jews away when they were in New York Harbor asking for asylum. That is another of the shames we bear. Same as throwing all the Japanese Americans in prison camps during WW II.

    You sure eat a lot of meals. As someone who eats one meal a day, I find you eat every few hours (grin). Thanks for these amazing photos and your perspective on these Berlin museums.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. You only eat 1 meal a day, wow. I eat at least 2, but mostly 3.

  14. There is an added sadness to the Jewish Museum when one sees the rise of ultra right wing nationalism and antisemitism in present day Germany, and Holocaust denial has become a cottage industry.

    1. Very sad that people don't seem to have learned anything from the wars, destruction... and worse still so many right wing governments are coming into power.


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