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October 18, 2010

South of Berlin, the mysterious ruins of Beelitz Heilstätten seem to grow naturally out of the surrounding forest. What today resembles a 19th-century ghost town was once among Europe’s most advanced medical hospitals.

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Day at the Races

October 11, 2010

We took advantage of a recent sunny sunday by going on a bike ride to Hoppegarten, a community bordering Berlin made famous by its horse race track. From the S-Bahn stop Frankfurter Allee we rode straight east for about an hour – fascinated as Plattenbauten gave way to some countryside scenery. We arrived just in time for a nice couple to hand us two free tickets. So we splurged on a program complete with detailed information on the art of betting, stats about each racing horse as well as the name and weight of each jockey.

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To Stasiland

April 5, 2010

In one half of this city not long ago, you were being watched. Your family, friends, and neighbors were likely to be among the estimated two-million East-Germans working with the Ministry for State Security, or “Stasi” for short. In its prime, the Stasi is said to have employed 1 agent or informant for every 6.5 citizens.

The implements of state surveillance and control are now showcased in the former Stasi brain basket, which remains uncannily as it was abandoned in 1989 (1979 Eastern Time). We headed out one morning to the desolate middle-east of Berlin where the avenues were built for tank battalions. We took a tour. Read more…

In Case of Emergency

March 16, 2010

There’s always a scumball machine close at hand on the streets of Berlin–but what about in those plentiful green spaces: forests, parks and waterways? What is one supposed to do out there in a pinch?  Read more…

Forbidden Fruit

March 12, 2010

Exotic, with a soupçon of erotic.

The Whitest Chips

February 5, 2010

My dear old grandmother once remarked on a plain white freezer bag, in her gentle Florida drawl, “Isn’t that the whitest bag you ever saw?”. Her eyesight was failing due to macular degeneration at the time, but still she nailed it: that was a white, white bag.

I had to think of my Grandmama upon discovering the rather aptly named White Chips pictured above. Read more…


February 2, 2010

The Wall Street Institute used to advertise English classes around Berlin with a pretty conventional subway poster that depicted a gang of businesspersons in silhouette, heading for a bright future on The Wall Streets. The implied message: “Come join the crowd!” Read more…