these are the posts tagged ‘germany’:


my love for flea markets…



… is equally balanced by my hatred for haggling! i can’t do it, not after two years of daily practice in china… i always feel like i’m either cheating someone or being cheated… there’s no winning, and so i end up not buying anything most of the time. still, i like to browse around, and imagine where all these relics might have come from. berlin provides a lot of visual entertainment for the curious eye.

walking on history, III: the reichstag memorial

there’s a discreet and intriguing memorial near the entrance of reichstag, a row of uneven cast iron plaques, with names and dates. no explanation is given for the curious tourists that wander around it.
reichstag memorialreichstag memorial
the memorial was unveiled in 1992, in remembrance of murdered members of the reichstag. in the borders of the 96 plaques are the names of the politicians from the german parliament that were persecuted by national socialists after they gained power in 1933. it is a simple and inconspicuous memorial, but a noteworthy one.

more from this series.

halloumi

we live in a middle-eastern neighborhood, a small island of strange accents, shisha bars and small turkish shops. and since their food is cheap and tasty, we like to indulge in it every once in a while. i can say that by now, we’ve tried and learnt more about middle-eastern specialities than we have german ones… so why not write a sort of glossary about them?

first up (cheese will always come first), halloumi!

we quite like halloumi. traditional from cyprus, it’s a cheese made with goat and sheep’s milk. it feels like mozarella, but saltier, and since it is usually fried or grilled, it reminds us a bit of the slovenian fried cheese. all the falafel shops seem to have a variation of the halloumi salad above, usually with some mint in them. yum! :)

the schwerbelastungskörper

have you seen the movie “the downfall“? (if you’ve seen one of those movies on youtube with hitler screaming at everyone, you’ve seen a bit of it at least.)

if you’ve seen the whole movie though, you might remember the scene where hitler and albert speer, his architect, look wistfully over a mockup of germania, the “new berlin”, future capital of the world.

their plan was to build two huge avenues, forming two axis that crossed the city, a huge domed people’s hall, and a big arch of triumph – much much larger than the one in paris. but because they didn’t know if the sandy ground of berlin could withstand such heavy things, they decided to test it first, by building a large concrete structure: the Schwerbelastungskörper (heavy load-bearing body). it is one of the few traces of hitler’s megalomanic germania in today’s berlin.

the massive structure was to function as a feasibility study for further constructions: if it were to sink less than 6 cm, the soil would be deemed sound enough for big buildings.

it sank 18 cm in three years.

not that it mattered in the end. as the war raged on in berlin, plans were quickly scraped.

the city wanted blow it to smithereens, but was afraid of the effects on the nearby buildings… and so to this day, the heavy cylinder remains, on the corner of dudenstraße and general-pape-straße. it is now an historical monument. from the observation deck next to it, you can pretty much see the whole city, and imagine the huge axis of avenues, with its triumphal arch that never was.

a little burnt around the edges

german classes, christmas markets and mittens warmed up by cups of glühwein, lunch concerts at the philarmonie, baking, christmas parties, daytrips outside berlin… it feels good to be busy, always on the run, but right now i wish life would slow down a little bit, just enough for me to process it all.