March 16, 2009

Spring Break 2009 - Berlin: Architecture with a history lesson

We landed in Berlin, Germany late and hungry. We muscled our way through the process of figuring out the railway system to get from the airport to our hostel. Emerging from the subway, we were presented with two fantastic late night options for some grub: a kebab at the little Greek munchies stand, or a Curry 36 (think American fast food: burger and fries, only instead of a burger, you get a huge, spicy German sausage). Lindsey went with a kebab (I think she is addicted to them) and Derrick & I swung for the sausage. Talk about good...I don't know if it was actually good or if we were just that hungry, but I found myself wishing we had a Curry 36 in Clemson.

After supper (at midnight), we wandered the streets for a bit looking for the hostel. Luckily, it was located in a nice part of town and the streets were deserted...not sketchy. After we checked in, we crashed hard because we knew we had to be up early the next morning for breakfast (and we hadn't been getting much sleep since the beginning of the trip) and a full day of exploring Berlin.

The next morning, after a sparse breakfast (we overslept and arrived after they had already shut things down), we set out on an ambitious agenda that would include most of Berlin's major architectural hotspots, historical landmarks, and inspiring monuments. We spent the morning exploring one of the fastest growing areas (both in terms of development and popularity) of Berlin: Potsdamer Platz.

The Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz.

The masterplan for the re-development is being spear-headed by the Italian architect: Renzo Piano (his architecture office is actually in may know him as the designer of the newest wing of the High Museum in Atlanta, GA) and it features so very interesting buildings designed by some very famous architects. Naturally, I was in Heaven.

We me up with our professor, Bernhard Sill, (his girlfriend lives in Berlin and he was in town to visit her and her family) for lunch and he showed us around the city for the rest of the afternoon. It worked out great because he used to practice engineering in Berlin before teaching at Clemson and we wasted no time getting lost (which is what would have happened had we tried to find everything on our own). We visited many sites...too many for me to simply list here, so I will only mention my favorites. The Holocaust Memorial by Peter Eisenman (think architect that designed the stadium for the Arizona Cardinals) was incredibly moving.

Holocaust Memorial.

Later that day, we visited the Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind. I won't bore you with the architectural details and significance, but I will say that it was an extremely educational experience and someone could spend a week there to see everything they have relating to the struggle the European Jews went through during World War II.

"Fallen Leaves" installation at the Jewish Museum.

The intersection of the three axis in the Jewish Museum.

After that action-packed day, Berlin ranks among my favorite cities and I would love to come back later to see the more of it. Alas, however, in order to make it to Dublin in time for St. Patrick's Day, we could only afford the 2 nights and 1 full day....

Upon leaving the museum, we ate some great steak at a cheap steakhouse (reminded me of something we would have in the States) and went to bed. Another early flight had us up with the sun....Ireland here we come!!!!!!!!!!!

Lindsey and me in front of a section of the Berlin Wall earlier in the day.

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine Jewish Museum experience -- so much tragic history stored there. I bet it makes you want to be back in High School History class! -- isn't it funny how interesting things become when you are an adult. Love, MOM