The fifth day: Art tour

Today is the fifth day since we have been here Berlin. Time goes so fast that half of the trip has been passed. Fortunately,  the places we have been were very impressive and awesome. So did today.

The first place in the schedule was the St. Nicholas’ Church, which was the oldest church in Berlin with 800-year history. Originally, it was a Catholic church. After Protestant Reformation, it became a Lutheranism Church. There were two things surprised me a lot. First of all, people then chose to bury the body under the church but not in the graveyard. In my mind, that means people did the service and have lunch every Sunday just beyond the tomb. That is impossible in my culture, because the died man should be far away to the family. However, on the opposite way, people thought buried under the church was a kind of connection with god, and people believed that the died people will protected the families who still alive. Anyway, the decoration embossments were really beautiful. Secondly, the face expression of the angel sculptures were not so kind. They located in the middle of the exhibition and could be seen face to face. This was the first time that I could observe the religion sculptures so closely. But the impressions that the sculptures left me were totally different from my understanding before. In my imagination, all the angels should looks nice and peaceful, but most of those angels seems more ironic and out of patience, or serious even a little bit angry. Only one of them seems filled of love. It confused me a lot. Besides, it is also the first time for me to see so huge an organ. The sound must be beautiful as well.

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The next museum we visited was about the artist Shadow, who was also the designer of the Brandenburger Gate. In the exhibition, there were plenty of his works. Some of them were painting, and some of them were sculptures. All of them were amazing. I surprised by his precise proportion design of the human arts, which made the productions really authentic.

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On the way to the Museum Island, we passed by some statues on the center of the plaza. Every characters were vivid as it really existed.The pity is that I could not understand more a bout the origins and the stories of those statues, but they definitely were good arts which were worthy to see.

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By the way, there was a man who sale the curries on the street was interesting. Without any store, just a equipment and himself were enough to start a business. Such a Germany style. Saving space, saving time, and making everything most efficient.

 

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The last Museum we visited was the Pergamon Museum. As the most famous museum in Berlin, it was as great as its popularity. It showed the Pergamon Altar, Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate and the Processional Way in Babylon, and the Mshatta Facade. I lovethis museum is because it shows the original roof of the western culture, which is unfamiliar with me. That is also the most interesting and curious things for me. Thanks for the Chinese explanation, I didImage

The last stop of our trip yesterday was the German Bundestag. Standing on the top of the building, the Berlin just in eyes. The building top sculptures were so close to you. Standing under the Germany flag, somehow the solemn feeling came out. and Walking around the top of the globe, with the guidance we can see the famous building around the Berlin. The design of this building was brilliant as well. Not only the function to the office building, but also the appearance for sightseeing are marvelous. In the first layer of the globe, we also saw the exhibition of the Berlin government history and development of his building. Glad to be here and have this tour.

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On My Own

By: Randy Brown Jr. 

My final, full day in Berlin was one of serenity. Given the freedom to go wherever my heart desired, I chose the Dali exhibit near Potsdamer Platz. This exhibit house 400 pieces by one of the greatest artists of our time. I was not able to carry a camera past the main entrance. If cameras were admitted I would have photos for this post. Of all of Dali’s work, I am especially attracted to his contour line drawings. He is a master of his craft; able to invite others into his imaginative world with a single stroke of a brush (or pen). 

After the exhibit, I ventured across the street to Starbucks for a coffee and writing. From the view of a second story window, I was able to do a few creative writing exercises, many of which included the environment I was in, as well as the people inhabiting the space. 

To finish my day, I went to a coffee shop adjacent to the Typography of Terror museum. Image

From this coffee shop, I journaled about my experience in Berlin the past 7 days. I enjoyed a white chocolate latte and conversed with a man behind the counter about the city of Berlin. 

Having a day to myself really allowed this trip to come full circle. I arrived here with no expectations and was amazed beyond measure . Though I do not want to leave (I would rather stay here). I understand that there is work to be done. 

Signing off from Berlin, 

Randy Brown Jr. 

Day 6: From Wars and Conflicts to Peace and Happiness

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We started the day off by going to the Kaiser Wilhelm church. The church not being rebuilt or remodeled gives you a good look into the damage that was caused by World War II. Instead of destroying the church and rebuilding it again, there was a change of plan to leave the damaged church as it is and build a replacement next to it which we also visited ( Picture seen below).

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After a long day and week, Thursday’s journey to the Tiergarten was just what we needed. German’s many historical monuments and sites signify persecutions, wars, and conflicts but sometimes it’s nice to forget all that and enjoy a beautiful day in a peaceful park. So we took the time to walk around and enjoy the beautiful scenery around the garden. It was a calming and nice experience. After that beautiful day, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for another wonderful day in Berlin.

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Remembering History

Today we visited the Holocaust  Memorial.  It consisted of hundreds of stone slabs arranged in an orderly fashion.  The ground, however, is very uneven.  This makes the  memorial somewhat  disorienting to walk through.

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Below the  memorial is a museum.  The museum contained a short history of the Holocaust as well as letters written by the victims and descriptions of families that were torn apart.

Next, we visited the Nikolai Quarter.  Inside we saw the oldest building in Berlin, the Church of St. Nicholas. We discovered that it was built around the year 1230, making it almost 800 years old, the oldest building I’ve ever seen.

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Finally, we went to the Knoblauchhaus Museum.  This building was once the home of the famous architect Schadow.  This building was also quite old.  The floorboards creaked with every step.

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The Nikolai Quarter was once part of the German  Democratic Republic and as a result a few people we met could not speak any English.  We were able to get by using Tim Dow’s tried and true method of pointing and grunting.

The Finer Things

By: Tim Dow

Sometimes in life we need to enjoy the finer things in life.  It might be a light and flakey crossant.  As put by Jake Jaugstetter, “the trumpets sound as the angels bring them down from heaven”. 

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It could also be a coffee machine that makes cappuccino,  lattes, and espresso with ease.

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Maybe you like to enjoy a little fine art from time to time.

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None of these things can compare to the way Fredrich the great enjoyed life’s finer things.   

Today we visited the neighboring town of Potsdam.  The main feature of the day was the Neues Palais and its former front lawn Park Sanssouci.   To get to the Palais,  we walked through the 700 acre park and past Schloss Sanssouci.  Sanssouci is French for without a  care, and it suites this place well.  The picture bellow shows Schloss Sanssouci.

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After a long walk we arrived at the Palais.  Even though it was closed for renovations, it was made very clear that Fredrich the Great enjoyed the finer things.   There was hardly a space that did not have a statue on the 200 room mansion. 

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While we may not be able to enjoy the finer things the way Fredrich the Great did,  this trip is proving that the finer things add a nice touch to life.

Day 1: An Unexpected Berlin

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Eyosias Eshetu

The plane, bus, and train ride to our hotel strengthen my hopes for what Berlin, Germany would look and feel like. As I learned in my City as Text class, Berlin is a place known for its rich history. The city is filled with monuments, statues, and memorials that are kept as a reminder of the city’s polarizing past. The preservation of such sites came with lots of debates and controversies; some Berliners don’t want to be reminded of their past.

Berlin was not what I expected it to be; it was even better as it reminded me of my childhood in my home country. Walking around, I saw buildings that looked just like the places where I lived as a child. We passed by food establishments. The aroma of the various foods reminded me of restaurants from home country. So my first experience of Berlin was such a great one. It brought back great memories of the place I was born and raised.

Day 2: Keeping it all in Perspective

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By: Randy Brown Jr.

Today was a lot different from day one. It involved gaining a feel for the environment, learning the rail system, and taking in the city (all it has to offer at face value). Day two welcomed the reality: Berlin has a history that even Berlin has trouble coming to terms with from time to time.

Our day started at the Jewish Museum (Jewish Museum photo above). I enjoyed this museum a lot. I was not expected much.

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The museum was filled with work from artists whose lives and work changed as a result of the Nazis’ actions during the 1930s and 1940s. Bedrich Fritta, a German artist, was captured and placed in a concentration camp. His duty was to create artwork that framed the Nazi’s propaganda. Fritta and his studio of artists did their duties, but also created anti-Nazi artwork. Image

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Fritta and his studio hid the artwork from the authorities. On one his son’s birthday’s, Fritta, presented him with a book. The book consisted of artwork, depicting the real living situations, which Nazis tried to cover up, in concentration camps. Image

After the Jewish Museum, my group visited the Typography of Terror, the Gustapo and SS Headquarters. These offices were the center of oppression in Nazi Germany. Image

Inside the museum, accurate depictions and original photographs of mass slayings (Nazi Oppression) are on full display. The museum traces the beginnings of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, why he instituted the laws as he did, why German civil rights were taken from them, why Hitler chose to oppress specific groups, the Nazis invasion into neighboring countries, and the downfall of the SS State.

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The Typography of Terror was important to see. Many do not want to recognize Hitler as a leader but he was. My classmates asked me why would anyone follow such a leader. The museum explained why. It was the perfect storm. Germany was in the middle of a regime change. The people of Germany stood by Hitler. His charisma, charm, and resilient nature drew a nation to him. Early on things changed for the better, and because of this more people gave in to his propaganda. In the end, Hitler had an end game. He had a plan all along.

By the time the people of Germany realized Hitler’s vision for the world it was to late. The people of this country were begin governed by fear.

Though we may seem dictators with similarities to Hitler, it is safe to say that we will never see another again; another Nazi Germany or a nation who would allow such terror to exist, at such a rate, for so long.