Postcards from Berlin

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

Can a city ever tire of itself, of its history?

We have to wonder this of Berlin.

Restricted by a visit of only one week (three turned into one, courtesy of Dalene being so sick), much of our time was spent only at the major sites, learning of the difficult history that plagues Germany’s capital. Few places we visited were free of monuments, markers, or memorials of some type.

Look! Under that parking lot is the bunker where Hitler died! And this is the new neighbourhood built after the Berlin Wall was removed! It’s what many tourists come to Berlin for.

Americans may tire of constantly being challenged on politics, and we definitely tire of hearing about the plague of Bieber (although many foreigners just assume he is American, and on those occasions we choose to not correct them). Neither of these compare to having to talk about the scourge that once existed in Berlin though – and not just on a single occasion either, but decades of events that kept the spotlight of the world harshly fixed on it. Indeed, these events should be remembered and talked about, lest we forget. History is our greatest teacher.

But modern day Berlin must surely be exhausted of it – of being that dark symbol, of being such a teacher of how-not-to-be. It is a heavy burden to bear.

There is so much more to the city, if visitors choose to find it, but we wonder how many do. If they looked beyond they would find so much unconventional beauty that it hurts. It pained us greatly to not get to use ever minute of our three weeks to comb Berlin, to give it more of the attention it deserves.

Although not labeled as such, consider these postcards part one in a series, as we left unsatisfied. We must return for more.











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    1. Thanks Cam. That is one of my favorites too. I really took my time in the square and tried to find the best angle while getting the Potzdamer Platz station in.

  1. The last photo is amazing, love it! I like that you say it’s Part I of a series – you should return in the summer; it’s a completely different world, and I think you’d love Berlin even more ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks so much Dani! Everyone has told us it is a whole different place in the summer, so looks like we’ll be going back when it is a lot warmer ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. We’re moving to Europe next year and Berlin is at the top of the list of places we’re going to visit. Such a fascinating place and this just reinforces that fact. Maybe we’ll meet you there!

  3. We lived in Berlin for three years and looking through these postcards has reminded us so much of our time there, especially the yellow trains. Oh and Alexanderplatz – that was the closest big station to where we first lived and I feel I know every inch of that place. It’s also where I and a group of other US-Americans met to protest the war in Iraq. And history? Yeah, Berlin’s got plenty of that too. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I loved the fact that there are three government funded opera houses there, the Staatsoper being my favorite! ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post. Thanks for reminding me of a former home.

    1. The Staatsoper is a BEAUTIFUL building. I wish I would have had the time to see inside. Next time ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad I could give you a little reminder, tschรผss!

  4. Pete your photography has really developed so much in the last year. It’s hard to pick a favourite but I’m a sucker for transit so I like the last one the best.

    1. Very kind Ayngelina. I have spent a lot of time learning and still feel I have so much further to go. I had a feeling that last one would be popular ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Love the shots and the tight compositions. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Regarding the photo that’s immediately below the one at Alexanderplatz, did you make the former photo from the top of the Reichstag? That red Regional Bahn train at the lower-centre is pulling into Friedrichstrasse station!

    I think it can be easy to become “tired”, but I’m sure you realized a way out of that was to wander into any of the Berlin neighbourhoods, walk around, stop in a cafรฉ, walk around some more. Although it’s not “tourist central”, the reasons above are why I enjoyed Schรถneberg.

    1. Nice catch Henry, yes that photo is atop the Reichstag building. It was one of the best skyline shots I could get that included the tower.

      I loved all the different neighborhoods, and feel that I didn’t even scratch the surface of the city. We will indeed need to return.

  6. I love that there is so much history lingering in unexpected places in Berlin. I have not been there but know I will love it. Great shots! I think I especially like the subway one.

    1. It’s one of the places where it offers something for everybody. It’s an easy place to spend a lot of time in. Enjoy it when you get there!

    1. Hi Nat, I believe so yes. There is so much history behind this gate and the statue that stands atop. It has been stolen numerous times during war and captured back and returned.

  7. Great photos of Berlin! I’ve been to Germany but only in Bavaria. Would love to get back and explore this city!

  8. Fab shots. I love the one of the subway train. We’ve road tripped through southern Germany but didn’t make it very far north. One day perhaps! Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Awesome postcard series guys!

    Very nice usage of HDR as well. I just can’t stand when people overdo it, but when it’s one right, I think it’s much more effective than a straight shot.

    It’s much closer to what you could accomplish in the darkroom back in the day too, making it more true to what the eye sees. Thinking about diving into it too… we’ll see how it goes though!

  10. I have lived in Berlin and visited for the past 15 years. The pictures look like post cards. Did you actually take them? If so, great on you but very difficult to do since majority of them are during the day and it is next to impossible to get them people free.

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