On Saturday Mark and I immersed ourselves in WWII sightseeing. We went to the Olympic Stadium in order to take in the Fascist architecture, which indeed seemed a little stark and aggressive, even though they had attempted to make up for it by naming the street outside for Jesse Owens. Meanwhile, all the other tourists there had come to indulge their World Cup nostalgia.
Afterwards we went to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which sustained heavy allied bombing in WWII and has been left as-is, which was interesting to see.
Then we went on a walk of the Wall. There isn't much Wall left, but we did track some down, and saw some of the memorials to people who had been shot trying to escape.
OK, the sun was setting so I don't really have good pictures of the wall. Here is one wall shot though.
The Germans have made strenuous efforts to re-integrate the city, and there has been substantial building along the former non-man's land where the wall was, as well as considerable gentification of former eastern areas, so when I walked around it really was not obvious to me which areas were formerly eastern and which western. There has also been a thorough remapping of the public transportation connecting the 2 sides-- I was always zipping across and changing trains at Alexanderplatz to go back to the (former) west. These days the former no man's land is quickly being filled with condos (Mauer lofts!) although there remain tracts of the city that have yet to be developed. It is almost like the city was never divided. It was strange to imagine what it must have been like. I can see why Berliners felt so strongly about it.
Saturday night we ate dinner at Viva Mexico, in the north side of the Mitte neighborhood. I think it should be named "The Only Good Mexican Restaurant in Europe". We walked in and there were Americans at every table, which I took to be a good sign. I strongly recommend it to desperate expats!
Some German slang: vokuhila = a mullet. it is short for "vor kurz hinter lang".