36 hours in Berlin right SHiFT 2008 and there’s only time for one or two things to do, really. Despite geek sensibilities, it turns out a paper map serves better than a digital one. This janky one from the hotel, flimsy and easily smudged and tattered, was actually spot-on perfect. Every street we needed to find, and U Bahn was easily navigated to. (Although, not by virtue of my lousy sense of direction.) Using a paper map makes me think — when will the still-Jurassic digital maps at lease orient themselves according to compass direction?
(I will add my friend Nicolas Nova’s map he also received while in Berlin just after I left, while we’re on the topic of paper and maps..I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me sharing this fantastic specimen.)
Tourist highlight of the 36 hours was the Stassi Museum, my curiosity peeked especially after viewing “The Lives of Others”. The history in here is fascinating, and in German. I was fortunate to have a native German speaker with me, and one who lived through this period as well. Between the drama in the exhibitions and the real-life experiences, it was well worth the time. (Curiously the museum is not well indicated in the surrounding neighborhoods. We had to ask a couple of well-liquored gents knocking back a few in a box-bar about bit enough to fit a keg and a television in.)
Here’s Markus Meckel’s desk where I’m sure zillions of horrific deeds were executed. Check out the accoutrements of tyranny here — an enormous safe (you can see the door), a shredder (on the left of the chair), a chair, a switchboard phone thing, phone and desk. Despite the tyranical history, I was awestruck by the furniture. It was so evocative of the period in a way that brought the stillness to life. You have to check out the other photos — there’s spy gear, more room furnishings (including the side room with a bed, I guess for late nights or trysts or something) and some amazing swivel chairs.
More photos from the museum exhibits are in my Berlin Flickr set.