May 11, 2005

Catching Up On Pictures

At long last, my remaining pictures from Hamburg and Berlin.

A few notes beyond what's in the picture pages themselves:

  • U-Boats:While touring U-434, I was struck by how similar it seemed to -- and in some cases, how it seemed more primitive in comparison to -- U-505, the captured German submarine on display at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, despite the fact that U-505 is 35 years older. Is this a statement on the capability of Soviet industry, or just testament to the fact that there's only so much that you can do, design-wise, when you're stuffing a collection of wires, pipes, and gauges inside a steel tube?

    Also, in searching for "U-Boat Hamburg" (because the official U-434 site is lousy -- look! An animated map of our parking lot!), I found out about Hamburg's "Elbe II" U-Boat bunker, destroyed by the British occupation forces at the end of the war with three submarines still inside. Until recently, when the remnants of the bunker were filled in by its current owners, it was still possible for the brave and/or foolhardy to enter the bunker at low tide and climb around on the submarines!

  • The Stasi: A plug for the book Stasiland, by Anna Funder: horrifying and surreal tales of East Germans' experiences with the Stasi. It's received many accolades from the press, and deservedly so. The Guardian has a first-chapter excerpt here, although it's not until after the first chapter that things really get moving.

  • Miniatur Wunderland: It's exciting to see my favorite Hamburg attraction expanding to become even more gigantic. And they've got ambitious plans for the future. Unfortunately, though, the future expansion that I'd most like to see, "Underground" -- U-Bahn trains in tunnels! Goldmines! -- isn't scheduled for construction until 2009! I'll go put that trip on the calendar right now ...

Posted by Kevin at May 11, 2005 12:32 PM