Archives for : April2015

Berlin 2015 – day four (26 March 2015)

It was raining this morning so I decided to check out the German Museum of Technology. I thought they may have the odd camera or projector but I was absolutely delighted with that section of the museum as they had a whole floor devoted to photo cameras and the floor above to moving picture projectors and cameras, both amateur and professional.

An old wooden process camera, used for graphic reproduction.

An old wooden process camera, used for graphic reproduction.

Photographic equipment, note the photo in the background of a large process camera.

Photographic equipment, note the photo in the background of a large process camera.

8mm cine film editors, used by many budding directors to cut and splice film.

8mm cine film editors, used by many budding directors to cut and splice film.

A seelction of cine cameras and projectors, mostly 8 mm. There is also a large tape deck; the only way to have sound in home movies before the advent of the Super 8 format was to use one of these machines. There were even various gadgets to synchronise film and sound.

A seelction of cine cameras and projectors, mostly 8 mm. There is also a large tape deck; the only way to have sound in home movies before the advent of the Super 8 format was to use one of these machines. There were even various gadgets to synchronise film and sound.

A Eumig P8 and Bolex Paillard 18-5 cine projectors (for 8 mm standard 8 film). I have both of these in my own collection and they are highly regarded.

A Eumig P8 and Bolex Paillard 18-5 cine projectors (for 8 mm standard 8 film). I have both of these in my own collection and they are highly regarded.

There was also, in the museum, a 1960s TV studio setup, with all the camera and editing technology on show, and several old electromechanical computers. Sadly, my time had ran out by then so I was only able to have a very fleeting glance at the rest of the museum. There is easily enough to see to take up an entire day!

1960s black and white TV studio equipment.

1960s black and white TV studio equipment.

German rocket technology!

German rocket technology!

After a brief drink in an Irish pub, I headed on to the Fernsehenturm. Although the visibility was poor, I would have regretted not tsaking the opportunity to go up it. Fortunately, my fear of heights was almost completely nullified by the fact that the viewing gallery was completely indoors.

The space age architecture of the building at the base of the Fernsehenturm is stunning, with the concrete 'wings' evoking a spirit of excitement.

The space age architecture of the building at the base of the Fernsehenturm is stunning, with the concrete ‘wings’ evoking a spirit of excitement.

The space age architecture of the building at the base of the Fernsehenturm is stunning, with the concrete 'wings' evoking a spirit of excitement.

The space age architecture of the building at the base of the Fernsehenturm is stunning, with the concrete ‘wings’ evoking a spirit of excitement.

The space age architecture of the building at the base of the Fernsehenturm is stunning, with the concrete 'wings' evoking a spirit of excitement.

The space age architecture of the building at the base of the Fernsehenturm is stunning, with the concrete ‘wings’ evoking a spirit of excitement.

Viewing gallery in the Fernshenturm. There is a revolving restaurant on the floor above but it is by reservation only.

Viewing gallery in the Fernshenturm. There is a revolving restaurant on the floor above but it is by reservation only.

View from the Fernsehenturm, facing south

View from the Fernsehenturm, facing south

 

View from the Fernsehenturm, facing east

View from the Fernsehenturm, facing east

View from the Fernsehenturm, facing west

View from the Fernsehenturm, facing west

View from the Fernsehenturm, facing SE

View from the Fernsehenturm, facing SE

Finally, I returned to Gatwick via Berlin Schönefeld airport, whiling away my time in the terminal in an Irish pub with a Bratwurst.

Berlin 2015 – day three (25 March 2015)

Today’s plan was to cover the western extents of the city centre so I got the U-Bahn to the furthest west place of interest. This was Schloss Charlottenburg, a former royal palace.

Schloss Charlottenburg

Schloss Charlottenburg

After that, I decided to walk along Berlin’s main shopping street, Kurfurstendamm. It was a long and rather unrewarding walk south to this but the shopping street itself contained the international designer brand shops that are ubiquitous in most major cities. At the top (north-eastern end) of this street was the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. This got bombed during WWII and only the main tower remains. A replacement church was built in the 1960s and it is a concrete waffle-like frame containing small fragments of stained glass. The interior looks stunning. A bell tower constructed from the same frame (being smaller in plan but a lot higher) is on the other side of the original tower; however, it is currently clad in scaffolding.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

 

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Near the Kaiser Wilhelm church is a small shopping centre that looks unchanged since the 1970s. Inside this was a café where I had slices of gammon and chips of potato (kartoffel chips). I then went in KaDeWe, Berlin’s most famous department store and one of the largest in Europe. The lower floors contained the usual expensive handbags/perfumes etc but on the top floor was a true gastronomic paradise. The food hall contains dozens of counters, all of which seem to have a bar. Each food department has several of these counters. There is meat, fish, cheeses, chocolate, cakes, sweets but unlike a supermarket, these products are served for eating in the shop rather than just being for home consumption.

Food hall at the KaDeWe department store

Food hall at the KaDeWe department store

The next place on my list was the Tiergarten, a massive park (like Hyde Park in London). However, the walk there seemed to go on for miles. On arriving at the Siegessäule monument, the walk to Brandenburg Gate looked an enormous distance away. I was after some refreshment and was most annoyed to see that the café was closed, having negotiated several labyrinthine subways and pedestrian crossings to get there. The offer from a rickshaw rider of a lift to the Brandenburg Gate was one I gladly accepted, despite being fleeced of my change. Like the beggars at Checkpoint Charlie, some of these people give them all a bad name by making them all seem suspect.

Siegessäule (Victory Column), Tiergarten

Siegessäule (Victory Column), Tiergarten

My exploration out west was thus complete, although there were a few places outside the immediate city, such as Potsdam, (and its surrounding lakes)  and Spandau. I headed back into the Eastern Bloc via the U-Bahn/S-Bahn and got off at Wernaucher Straße . Here is one of Berlin’s alternative areas (Friedrichsain) and is also home to the Oberbaumbrücke, one of Berlin’s most iconic bridges and a key border crossing of the cold war years. Nearby is a stretch of the river with the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall next to it, although there is a strip of land between the wall and the river that is used as a beach in the warmer months. Despite Berlin being such a long way from the sea, the soil appears to be quite sandy anyway. I first had a drink in a vaguely pirate-themed restaurant that had sand and palm trees in its beer garden.

Garden at the Pirates bar/restaurant, near Warschauer Straße.

Garden at the Pirates bar/restaurant, near Warschauer Straße.

I then followed the longwest remainign section of the Berlin Wall, known as the East Side Gallery, where various graffiti artists have decorated it. Of course, if anyone tried to do that 40 years ago then they’d probably have been shot! I then headed to my next destination via Ostbahnhof and the U-Bahn.

Oberbaumbrücke, one of Berlin's most famous bridges

Oberbaumbrücke, one of Berlin’s most famous bridges

Berlin Wall, part of the East Side Gallery. This longest remaining section of the wall has been decorated as a work of art.

Berlin Wall, part of the East Side Gallery. This longest remaining section of the wall has been decorated as a work of art.

Berlin Wall, part of the East Side Gallery.

Park and ‘beach’ facing Oberbaumbrücke. The East Side Gallery (part of the Berlin Wall) is on the far left.

Park next to the Berlin Wall. The shoprt section of wall on the right shows a cross-section of it.

Park next to the Berlin Wall. The shoprt section of wall on the right shows a cross-section of it.

Tempelhof Airport was in use until 2xxx but has been closed ever since. The airfield has been given to the people of Berlin as an open space, which is very popular for all sorts of activities, from picnicking to kite-flying. However, the terminal building was of more interest to me. This is a vast brick edifice shaped like a crescent and unlike most airports buildings, it includes all the hangars in the main building. While parts of the building are used by organisations such as the police, and aviation-related industries, the main terminal has been left as it is.

Tempelhof airport's main terminal entrance.

Tempelhof airport’s main terminal entrance.

Tempelhof Airport's vast terminal building.

Tempelhof Airport’s vast terminal building.

Tempelhof Airport

Tempelhof Airport

On the runway at the former Tempelhof airfield. Everything has been left in place as a massive open space for Berliners to enjoy.

On the runway at the former Tempelhof airfield. Everything has been left in place as a massive open space for Berliners to enjoy.

In the evening, I decided to head to Friedrichsain. Simon Dach Straße is packed full of bars and restaurants, ranging from posh eateries to ordinary pubs. I decided to start with Paul’s Rock Eck, which was (as the name suggests) a rock pub. This was very English, particularly in terms of the drinks available on draught. Next up was The Himmelreich, which is a gay bar and 2-for1 drinks was great. Finally was Kptn A Muller, recommended by a beer guide. It was kind of quirky.