This page contains an assortment of interesting things that I have spotted in my wanderings around Berlin (and some other parts of Germany) over the last several months.
The Trabbie (Trabbant) lives! This, and its 'station-wagon' brother were the only two cars produced in East Germany in any quantity. There was a ten year waiting list to obtain one. Now they are collectors' items, primarily owned and maintained by hobbyists. This was the first time that I'd ever spotted one in traffic however.
I was invited to go to a soccer match one weekend in May. The mascot was amusing, but it seemed that this was a pretty unimportant match; the visitors stand had barely a dozen spectators on it. This turned out not to be the case, at least not for the home team. When the full time whistle blew, the home team (Union is their name) had won 4:1 and the crowd went completely berserk, I was even struck by a flying body at one point. The organisers actually allowed the fans to run onto the field. It turns out that this day was the team's last opportunity this season to be promoted to the second grade. They could achieve this either by winning their match, or by some particular other team not winning some other match; in fact both of these things occured. The excitement was perhaps intensified by the fact that, for the last two or three seasons, they have been in exactly the same position and have blown the opportunity. But just to cap it off, this day was apparently the first time in the team's >100 year history that they had _ever_ been promoted to the second grade; these guys have been playing third-grade soccer since the nineteenth century. No wonder the fans were a little excited.
Close to Berlin is Potsdam. Not only is this the capital of Brandenburg (Berlin is a state in its own right, surrounded completely by another state called Brandenburg), it is also home to numerous castles and palaces. Notable amongst them is Sanssouci. My parents visited in early June and, amongst other places, we visited Sanssouci. All of the green that you can see on the terraces below the palace is in fact a vineyard! The vines are trained against the walls at each level and can be enclosed in glass-fronted cupboards in winter; miniature greenhouses.
Nowhere near Berlin at all, this is Der Zwinger in Dresden, quite the palace. This was also a visit with my parents in early June
A local artist produced a work 'A Voice for Every Heart' that combined installation, medical technology, global communication and music. The work was in two parts; the first, this installation, was a 'heart' beating in a shopping centre in Berlin, linked by Internet and mobile telephone links to a volunteer in Berlin who wore a portable cardiograph for the entire duration of the exhibit; the second was a sixteen piece musical performance in a museum in Berlin in which each performer was receiving his/her timing information from a portable cardiograph attached to one of sixteen volunteers in Australia. I did not attend the performance (in bed with a cold :-(), but I did see the installation. There is a transducer (think: loudspeaker) in the bucket which kicks a quarter turn for each beat of the volunteer's heart, thereby causing the bucket to throb in time with the volunteer's heart. There is more information (in German and French, but the animation under 'mehr uber kadoum' then '99 hearts - die animation' is in English) at http://kadoum.com/
Also not in Berlin, this is a rather elaborate milestone that I discovered in Bad Homburg (near Frankfurt). As a GPS flies, the distance is in fact 417Km. On this basis, the roads aren't actually too bad. (Unfortunately I didn't have a daytime opportunity to take this photo, and didn't have a bigger flash with me; I was not able to take a photograph of even the immediate surrounds.)