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Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Brandenberg Gate


This is the history Brandenberg Gate, where Barack Obama is reported to want to make a speech during his forthcoming tour of Europe. This is news which has divided German politicians along party lines (no change there then).

Posted by bigblue on 16/07/2008 at 08:11 AM
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Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Walls of Separation


Here’s another more intact section of the Berlin Wall. Looking at it, so low in comparison to say the Palestinian Wall, one is surprised. My colleagues told me that originally there were two rows of walls and the ground between them was mined, and of course watched by guards. Nevertheless this wall resulted in 80 officially recorded deaths in 28 years, and possibly 200 according to unofficial sources. Without belittling this, this is the same number killed over just a few years at the electric fence built between South Africa and Mozambique in the 1970s in order to keep the “communist revolution” out. Of course South Africa has a great history of separation barriers, and possibly the earliest was the almond hedge planted by Jan van Riebeck in the 1660’s. According to The Cape Town Pass it was “to protect the cattle of the Cape colonists”. (From the people who were living and farming there before the settlers arrived). This hedge (although it still exists in part today) quickly fell into disuse when the colonists rapidly expanded out from the settlement at what is now Cape Town.  As distasteful as these separation barriers are, it is also interesting to note how many of them there have been through history: Hadrian’s Wall, Offa’s Dyke, and The Great Wall of China to mention a few.

Link: The Berlin Wall at Wikipedia.

Posted by bigblue on 15/07/2008 at 08:33 AM
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Monday, 14 July 2008
Bike hire in Berlin


Seems like a good idea. I’m going back to Berlin in a few week’s time so I might have a chance to hire a bike.


They also have these quaint looking but not so quaintly priced cars for hire. The luxury model has rear window heating so you can warm your hands when you are pushing it.

Posted by bigblue on 14/07/2008 at 08:24 PM
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Sunday, 13 July 2008
A small German beer


After our meeting we walked around Berlin and had supper. I asked for a small beer and the waitress brought this. I queried this and she clarified “Yes, 500 ml”. This is what I call the egg size or pop-corn carton size descriptive framework.

Posted by bigblue on 13/07/2008 at 06:25 PM
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Saturday, 12 July 2008
Graffiti tags in Berlin


There’s nothing striking about this, except for the characters with diacritics.

Posted by bigblue on 12/07/2008 at 01:44 PM
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Filming in Berlin


Walking back to the hotel on Thursday night in Berlin we walked into this film set. According to the usher who steered us around the action, they were filming a commercial.

Posted by bigblue on 12/07/2008 at 09:09 AM
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Charles James Fox


This is the statue of Charles James Fox in Chertsey, Surrey.  He lived from 1749 to 1806 and his wikipedia entry describes him as being a Whig politically.

He came from a family with radical and revolutionary tendencies and his first cousin and friend Lord Edward Fitzgerald was a prominent member of the Society of United Irishmen who was arrested just prior to the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and died of wounds received as he was arrested.

Fox became a prominent and staunch opponent of George III, whom he regarded as an aspiring tyrant, and a supporter of the revolutionaries across the Atlantic, taking up the habit of dressing in the colours of George Washington’s army. Fox served briefly as Britain’s first Foreign Secretary in the ministry of the Marquess of Rockingham in 1782, and returned to the post in a coalition government with his old enemy Lord North in 1783. However, the King forced Fox and North out of government before the end of the year, replacing them with the twenty-four-year-old Pitt the Younger, and Fox spent the following twenty-two years facing Pitt and the government benches from across the Commons.

Though Fox had little interest in the actual exercise of power and spent almost the entirety of his political career in opposition, he became noted as an anti-slavery campaigner, a supporter of the French Revolution, and a leading parliamentary advocate of religious tolerance and individual liberty.

I am guessing that the nearby Fox Lane in Chertsey is named after Charles James and not Martha Lane-Fox.

Posted by bigblue on 12/07/2008 at 08:38 AM
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Friday, 11 July 2008
Here we go with Leeds United


I found this Leeds United Matrioshka in Prague recently. I left it there.

Meanwhile the football team returned to training recently and they play their first pre-season match tonight against York.  Here’s the 2008 season’s fixture list.

Posted by bigblue on 11/07/2008 at 08:18 AM
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