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Violating Sanctions

An American Woman’s Listening Tour Through the Axis of Evil

Archive for the Berlin Category

The Berlin Blogs ~ Aug 26 – 31, 2010

August 31st, 2010 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 2 Comments »

En route between housesitting in Noordwijk, Holland, and accepting a writing fellowship in Białystok, Poland, I spent 4 very full days in Berlin. At first, while planning my trip, I was discouraged by the high hotel prices. Even vacation rentals were a fortune!
Freedom of Movement at Brandenburg Gate
Then I discovered that the Netherlands’ high-speed train web site links to extensive hotel bookings, . (more…)

Category: Berlin

Ich Bin Ein Berliner

August 31st, 2010 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 3 Comments »

Unlike Vienna or Paris, Berlin doesn’t take itself too seriously. Berlin is still a kid on Christmas morning “gee whizzing” about its bountiful choices. The restaurants are still homey and unpretentious. The impressive and numerous museums are not overdone or overpriced. Most cost 8 Euros (about $10) and the tourism bureau offers a very reasonable Museum Card – all the museums you can squeeze into 3 consecutive days for 19 Euros (about $24). 60 museums, including the significant national museums, participate.
Berlin Street Performer at Museum Isle Waiting the Rain to Pass

310 Million Tits!

August 31st, 2010 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

Author’s Note: This post’s title (taken from former US Sen. Alan Simpson’s pejorative quote about Social Security made earlier this week) has nothing to do with this blog, but when I first read the headline, I thought it was “310 million HITS” and I thought, “YE—AHH! I want 310 million hits!“ So, I’m shamelessly, uh, milking an out-of-touch Senator’s foolishness for my own benefit.
Speaking of milking, I took full advantage of my Berlin Museum Pass. Cost: € 19 for all the museums I could squeeze into 3 consecutive days. I hit: (more…)

Ich Bin Ein FAT Berliner

August 31st, 2010 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

Dining in Berlin is al fresco in the hood I’m in (Kurfürstendamm – the Champs Élysées of Berlin lined with stores like Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, Hermés, Valentino – all closed on Sundays). It’s been rainy, so all the restaurants here have heaters and shawls folded over the seats. My first night, I had an extraordinary dinner (lamb and eggplant in a tart yogurt sauce) at a Turkish restaurant (Baba Angora, I loved it so much, I returned on my last night! (Teresa, try Angora red wine! She’s on her way to Turkey to read from her fabulous book Noah’s Wife. Treat yourself: She just won ForeWord’s 2009 Historical Fiction Book-of-the-Year!)
Street Performer on Museum Island, Berlin

Category: , Berlin, Kurfürstendamm

Sunrise ~ Sun, Aug 29

August 31st, 2010 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 1 Comment »

“Art brings the subconscious into the sunlight,” Henri Laurens, a Surrealist sculptor active during the beginning half of the last century wrote. I spent yesterday at the Alte Nationalgalerie, ( the fabulous Neue Nationalgalerie ( and today at the Brücke-Museum, ( learning about the Dresden “bridge” artists who painted in the early 1900s. Influenced at first by Van Gogh and later by the French Fauvists, their work is startlingly colorful, more defined than the Impressionists who preceded them and less abstract than the Surrealists who follow them. Several of Die Brücke artists traveled to the South Pacific and painted “primitives” – native masks, native people in natural, unclothed settings – a real departure from the highly coiffed Impressionists and portraiturists of the time – and their work later caught Hitler’s eye.

Most of these artists’ work was confiscated by the Nazis and displayed in a 1937 exhibit in Munich called “Degenerative Art.” In all, the Nazis confiscated more than 20,000 works by more than 200 artists. (more…)

A Good Monday Political Tour in Berlin

August 31st, 2010 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

Mauermuseum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie ( an exhausting, cramped tour of artifacts relating to the Wall (the Mauer), to its guards and to East Berliners who crossed it illegally. There is little historical or political context to the exhibits, so visit the informative display of murals on Zimmerstrasse, just outside and to the right of the museum. Displaying photos and history (in English, too), the large panels are the size of the Wall and run the Wall’s former course.
Checkpoint Charlie

Berlin: What I’d Have Done Differently

August 31st, 2010 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

It’s hard to imagine that only 25 years ago, this city was cut in half. The scar has healed nearly completely and I wish in my wanderings I’d been more attuned to the former laceration to be able to notice the Wall’s vestiges.
Remnants of the Berlin Wall
Had I visited the Topography of Terror exhibition (, Checkpoint Charlie and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum ( before traipsing around the city, I would have had a deeper appreciation of Berlin and it’s not-so-distant history.

Tourist Tip-Off: Berliners don’t jaywalk. Even in the rain with no traffic in sight, they wait patiently for the little green Go-Man.
Green Go Man
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