June 30th - July 4th; Poland, Germany

Warsaw; Chopin Monument
Frederick Chopin was born in Warsaw to a Polish mother and French
father (hence his name).  Before dying of tuberculosis at the young
age of 39, Chopin produced numerous solo piano works.  His monument
was set in a beautiful park complete with a rose garden and a small pond.
In order to have taken a closer shot, I would have had to have walked
into the pond with the ducks.

Warsaw; Pomnik Bohaterow Getta
This monument (Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto)
memorializes the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which took place in April of
1943 during W.W.II.  The Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB) held out
for four weeks before the Nazis prevailed and razed the ghetto entirely.
The memorial was built in 1948 using materials from the defeated
Nazis that they were going to use for a monument to their own
anticipated victory.

Warsaw; Rynek Starego Miasta
Warsaw was almost completely destroyed by the end of W.W.II and
this "Old Town Square" had to be rebuilt.  At the Museum of Warsaw, I
had a chance to see films of what the city looked like before W.W.II.

Warsaw; Palac Kultury I Nauki
This building is known as the Place of Culture
and Science and was "donated" by Josef Stalin
in 1955.  It is delightfully hideous building that
reminds you of the city's Communist past.  When
I first saw the building I immediately thought of
Orwell's Ministry of Truth.  Unfortunately, I didn't
get a chance to go up into the building which
would have offered a great view of the city.

Berlin; Hitler's Bunker
According to historians, this parking lot was the sit of Hitler's bunker
where he committed suicide near the end of W.W.II in April of 1945.
Germany is ever concerned with neo-Nazis and it didn't want to mark
the area of Hitler's death and the end of his Thousand Year Reich.
Furthermore it is illegal to declare that the Holocaust did not occur and
it is also illegal to display former Nazi symbols such as the Swastika.

Berlin; Potsdamer Platz
I've never seen so much construction before!  $35 billion dollars is
being spent to rebuild the area and in the year 2000, Berlin will once
again become the capital of a now unified Germany.  Years from now,
I will take pleasure in being able to say that I witnessed the rebirth of
the city.  The city has had an incredible history this century and it now
has a chance to be restored to its former glory.  Oddly enough, despite
all of the construction, unemployment in the area remains high as the
city continues to struggle with its Communist past.

Berlin; Berlin Wall
This is what is left of the Berlin Wall Which divided Berlin for almost
30 years before it came down on November 9th, 1989.  The wall is
fenced off now to keep souvenir hunters from tearing it down
further.  A tiny piece of the wall sold for about $20 dollars in the local
shops.  Even though most of the Wall is now gone, its location is marked
in the streets so that visitors can see where it once stood.

Berlin; Checkpoint Charlie
This was the most infamous crossing point between
East and West Berlin during the period (1961-1989)
that the Berlin Wall existed.  I visited the nearby
museum which gave a detailed history of the Berlin
Wall and all of the daring escapes made.  My favorite
is the one where a young man wanted to take his
girlfriend out of East Berlin and bought a car that was
very low to the ground in the West.  He then just
drove under the barriers to freedom.  Other tales
involved (usually to sneak out girlfriends) hiding in
all manner of places including two suitcases!

Berlin; Brandenburg Gate
This was built in 1791 but until 1989, it was hidden behind the Berlin
Wall.  This was the spot where the big party occurred after the Berlin
Wall came down.  The gate leads into the huge Tiergarten park which
would have been behind me when I took the photo.  The famous
Riechstag was also nearby but it was under going renovations (it will
become the seat of the German government in the year 2000) and I
couldn't get a good photo.

Berlin; Fernsehturm TV Tower
It took awhile to find the entrance to this tower
but it was well worth the search and the few
dollars it cost to go up to the top.  The elevator
was incredibly fast and within a minute or so you
were near the top which was over 1,300 feet.
The photo above shows a view where you can
see the huge Tiergarten in the distance.  In the
center of the photo is the Berlin Cathedral.

Berlin; Fernsehturm TV Tower
Another view from the tower shows the still rather
drab East Berlin.

Hamburg; Rathaus
I was in Hamburg on the 4th of July and it was
raining and cold (50 degrees; 10 Celsius).  Living
in California, I don't think I've ever experienced
such weather in July.  The city was founded by
Charlemagne early in the 9th century where it
became a vital port city.  The photo is of the city's
town hall (Rathaus).

Near Hamburg; Elba River
This photo was from a ferry which carried me back to Newcastle, England.
After a four hour journey, the Elba River let out into the North Sea.
The river was very calm but the North Sea was rather rough.  Luckily
I don't get seasick and it was fun trying to dance in the disco with the
ship rocking back and forth.

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