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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,…

Travel the Liberation Route Europe to see an Operation Market Garden reenactment in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

1001 Travel Tales Podcast: Traveling the Liberation Route Europe

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series 1001 Travel Tales Podcast

This week’s interview for 1001 Travel Tales was with Jeroen van Wieringen of Liberation Route Europe. We spoke to him at World Travel Market in London last year, which explains the noise in the background. At the same time, he was losing his voice, a symptom many at WTM suffered in that loud environment. Nevertheless, Jeroen’s enthusiasm…

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. The Stasi The word “Stasi” was a nickname for Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, which translates as the Ministry of…

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…

street art at Haus Schwarzenberg, Berlin

Street Art in Berlin with Alternative Berlin Tour

The meeting place for the street art tour by Alternative Berlin Tour was easy for me to find. I looked for the guide at the base of the Berlin Television Tower in front of the Starbucks. I loved the irony of starting an alternative walking tour in front of a Starbucks. Ben from New Zealand, our tour guide…

Getting a visa was no easy task unless you had official business in West Germany or elsewhere in the world.

Berlin’s Palace of Tears

Walking into the Palace of Tears is stepping back in time. The floor tiles, the wall clock, the “modern” design of the building: all hearken back to a 1960s aesthetic in interior design. Standing on East German territory since 1962, the Palace of Tears was an addition to the older Friedrichstraße train station. This station…

souvenirs available to East German tourists when they visited East Bloc countries. The sign explaining them states "Wall units displayed Russian dolls or other products from the series Knicknackery and Dust-gathery until they were finally stowed away in the cellar." DDR Museum, Berlin

A Peek into East Germany at the DDR Museum

In my last post, I wrote about the Berlin Wall as a gash across the city. What brought me to the Berlin Wall Memorial was my visit just the day before to the DDR Museum in Berlin. That museum and its hands-on portrayal of life in the former DDR (called the German Democratic Republic or GDR in…

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