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WWII and Cold War sites in Berlin

Berlin is a wonderfully diverse and dynamic city, and especially intriguing to visit as a tourist with an interest in history. In particular, Berlin is the place to go if you like learning about 20th century history, and, more specifically, World War II and the Cold War. I’ve written about a number of Berlin’s WWII…

A maritime-themed weekend in Hamburg

I’ve visited Amsterdam – about two and a half hours from home – more times than I can count. Hamburg is only slightly further away – three hours by car – and I’d never been there. It was time. My husband, Albert, and I decided to spend a weekend in Hamburg and I was fortunate…

Mercure Hotel Hamburg City: a review

I expected Mercure Hotel Hamburg City to be a cookie-cutter hotel. You know the sort: identical furniture to every other hotel in its class, usually in shades of brown and red. As a four-star, I expected the furniture to be the standard: a bed with plain headboard, two end tables, reading lamps, a desk, a…

Another view of Burghausen Castle

Lovely Burghausen Castle

I love castles, especially the medieval kind. I wrote about this attraction to everything medieval a few years ago, trying to get at why we like it, when that historical period was clearly such a terrible time in Europe. But anyway, as a result, I visit castles pretty much whenever I can. So this summer,…

glüwein: white in this case

What makes German Christmas Markets Special

Whenever people ask me “How do you like living in Holland?” part of my answer has to do with travel. You see, living in the Netherlands means I can travel to other European countries very easily. In fact, I can drive into Germany in about a half hour. Belgium is about two or three hours…

The Reichstag dome as seen from the roof

Touring Reichstag Dome for a Wider View of Berlin

It’s not the kind of sightseeing I usually do, but touring the Reichstag dome was so highly recommended by a friend that I decided to do it anyway. It was also a bit of a relief after all the grim history I’d been learning about at the DDR Museum, the Stasi Museum, the Berlin Wall…

The Stasi Museum Berlin looks like an ordinary office building from the early 1960s.

Stasi Museum Berlin: The Dark Heart of East Germany

At both the DDR Museum and the Palace of Tears, I learned about the kind of everyday surveillance that East Germans endured in Cold War Germany. To find out more, I went to the Stasi Museum as well. Disclosure: As at all the museums I visited in Berlin, I received free admission. Nevertheless, all opinions…

metal faces on the floor of the memory void in the Jewish museum Berlin

The Jewish Museum in Berlin

After my experience at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, I was apprehensive about visiting the Jewish Museum in Berlin. This, I thought, is something they will have to get right. After all, Berlin was Hitler’s capital city, the place where leaders managed the bureaucratic tasks necessary to carry out the genocide he planned. You…

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