Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Caught the 10:10 flight down to Stuttgart, 50 minutes flying time, then caught a train to Freiburg, two hours traveling time. Was in Freiburg, in the heart of the Black Forest by 3:15. Whew! Yesterday morning I was in Ulaan Baatar. Walked from train station to the Munsterplatz, the square in the middle of town. In the middle of the square is the the Munster (cathedral), an immense redstone pile with an incredible bell tower which art historian Jacob Burckhardt called “The greatest in all of Christendom.” I don’t know how high it is; It certainly rivals or exceeds the south bell tower of St. Stephans in Vienna (known affectionately as "Little Steffl" to the locals), which is 484 feet high. The church itself is over 800 years old and, like St. Stephens, miraculously survived World War II bombing which flattened areas just hundred of feet away (they did not have “smart bombs” in those days). Checked into an inn right on plaza, on the north side, with a great view of the church from my window.

Are Berliners really nuts? We report, you decide.

Old Berlin and New Berlin

This is the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche (for you non-Teutons, that’s the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church), dating from the late 19th century. It was heavily damaged in a British bombing raid in November, 1943. The remains have been preserved as a war memorial. Berliners, who seem to have an nickname for everything, call it the “Broken Tooth.” The new tall building next is it is bell tower, replacing the now-missing bell tower of the old church. Berliners call this the “Lipstick”. There are always a lot of street musicians playing around here, including the ubiquitous Peruvian flute players (apparently Peru’s biggest export) and Black rap singers.