I've just arrived back from a flying visit to Germany. My family had been staying there while I was at YRS2014, in a rural place off the northern Baltic coast, called Rügen. I flew out on the 6th to visit them, taking the slow train up from Berlin to Ostseebad Binz, the end of the line, through former GDR territory.

We were camping in a campsite situated a fair schlep from the nearest town, and there wasn't much in the way of things to do. Near where we were staying, there was a massive (and quite oppressive) "holiday camp" built by the Nazi Strength Through Joy program from 1936-39. The place in general had a brutal air to it, occupied as it was by two totalitarian empires within recent history.

Beach in Rügen
My phone took this.

The weather was good, apart from one rainy day, and the food was very good, especially the herring sandwiches and orange-flavoured ice cream. As I had not brought my bicycle on the plane, I had to hire one, which unfortunately broke down a couple of times (the chain broke in half).

On the 11th, we caught the train back down to Berlin, and stayed the night there in a hostel. I visited all the major attractions, including the Reichstag, Brandenburg gate and Holocaust memorial. Unfortunately I only had my phone on hand to take pictures, and its camera is not great.

Brandenburg Gate
Neoclassical architecture.

Holocaust Memorial
Imaginative and minimalist monument to indescribable crimes against humanity.

German parliament building (since 1999).

I also visited the remains of the Berlin wall, but forgot to take any pictures. For me, Berlin represents a historical front line between freedom and oppression. The Berlin wall clearly illustrates what the effect is of a country being occupied by imperialist powers with opposing ideas, and why liberal democracy is objectively a better system than Nazism or Communism.


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