Monday, August 24, 2009

West is Best?

I usually hate when tourists take pictures in inappropriate places (like prisons!) -- and taking smiley pictures in front of the Berlin Wall is not quite fitting -- but I did it anyway.

It's such a piece of history.

Most of the remaining portions of the Berlin Wall are painted: well-done professional paintings, scribbles, scratches, spray-painted. It's all there, and most etchings communicate something significant.

Ever wanted a GDR stamp in your passport? They're still available in some tourist shops. Crazy!

Typical Subway Station in Berlin: Practically Empty.

When we first entered the subway in Berlin, we were wondering if the station was actually closed .... it was that desolate.

Berlin is majorly underpopulated and you can see the effects everywhere.

View from my parent's hotel window -- note the empty buildings.

When people fled, they fled. And have yet to return.

But some are making the best of it .....

Hence the former Communist blocs that have been painted cheerful colors.

Yet it's still typical to walk past buildings like this.

However - there are bright spots!

Leisure Sunday Brunch in East Berlin = Best Idea Ever

If you're ever going to Berlin, do it over a weekend and make brunch a priority. If you like food, I cannot rave enough about the huge and varied German buffets .... yum!

Friedrichshain Neighborhood: Heart of the East

Berlin is an endlessly fascinating city -- albeit not the prettiest European destination. There's so much recent history to digest that a weekend is not enough to see and do everything.

One other fascinating thing about Berlin: We did not hear Americans anywhere.

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