Category: Berlin

  • BERLIN: “Home”

    Home away from home for a month placed me in what used to be East Germany. I was a 20-minute tram ride from language school and minutes on foot from the gate where thousands of East Germans poured across the Wall into the West on November 9, 1989. Day after day in the fall, the […]

  • BERLIN: The Joy of In-City Mass Trans

    For years, I’ve come to Germany every fall or so to practice German, and one of my favorite “first things” is to reacquaint myself with public transportation. It’s part of learning the culture. In Berlin, light rail, subway, streetcars (trams), buses and even ferries are coordinated by an association of the transit-system owners. To the […]

  • BERLIN: Language School

    The GLS Languages Center in suburban Prenzlauer Berg covers four acres. Building 2 has more than 60 classrooms, and Administration occupies half the second floor. The campus includes two hotels, a restaurant, a student cafeteria and a restored neo-Renaissance bath house now used as an event location.

  • BERLIN: The Wall Up Close

    The Berlin Wall is gone … mostly. You find segments still standing in several places. In reality, it’s a permanent scar on the city and the psyches of some of its longtime residents. The wall has fallen, but the divisions between East and West are deep and long-lasting. My host told me his parents, who […]

  • BERLIN: Revisiting the Wall

    For residents of eastern Berlin, one dictatorship perished only to be replaced by another. The Topography of Terror exhibit shows what the Third Reich and the Soviet-dominated German Democratic Republic had in common — a foundation of terror.

  • BERLIN: Mauer (wall) Power

    The East Side Gallery is one of the biggest tourist magnets in the formerly divided city. This is what the west side of the wall looked like — then and now.

  • BERLIN: Government Quarter

    Germany’s executive and legislative branches are in Berlin (the country’s “supreme court” is in Karlsruhe, in southwestern Germany). The chancellor’s office, the parliament building and the president’s residence are within a few minutes’ walk of each other. I strolled through the government quarter on a Saturday, my first day off since classes began.

  • BERLIN: Palace of Tears

    Tears during parting is what the division of Germany meant for many. The station where friends and family had to say good-bye after a visit across divided Berlin was known as the Tränenpalast, “palace of tears.”

  • BERLIN: Prussian Pleasure Palace

    The Hohenzollerns are a dynasty of former princes, electors, kings and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire and Romania, says Wikipedia. Charlottenburg Palace and its extensive garden were built for Queen Sophie Charlotte of the Hohenzollerns. Its oldest section dates to 1695. Frederick the Great updated it in the 1740s. It is the […]

  • BERLIN: City Palace

    Berlin is getting its City Palace back. During the war, the palace in the center of the city was badly damaged, and in 1950, it was demolished. After the Wall came down, parliament agreed to reconstruction of the palace. Meanwhile, the National Monument to Freedom and Unity, which is to go in front of the […]