2024 Berlin

We spent a few months (in an international team) helping to translate and correct texts for the website created about the nearly 500 satirical poems Curt Bloch created in hiding in Enschede from 1943-1945. Following this, we were invited to attend the opening of the exhibition dedicated to the same subject. 
And since we are always up for a trip, we didn't have to think long!
So on Wednesday morning, we drove the camping van from Friesland to the east. 

For the first time in days, it was actually dry! This would not remain so for the whole trip...

The traces of the past wet spell were everywhere, many meadows are under water. Only the numerous swans were amusing themselves.

First stop is Oldenburg, where we buy a new environment sticker. The old one was lost last week with the cracked windscreen.

In Hohnstorf we cross the Elbe River. Here we enter the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein.

The river floodplain is completely flooded.

In Boizenburg, motorhome owners are very welcome.

An scenic picture of the little port in the Boize River.

It's a brisk walk to the Italian restaurant Sylvia found on the web. Alas... closed!
But fortunately, we find a delicious Thai/Chinese buffet restaurant much closer by.

All that walking made us thirsty. Or was it the spicy food...?

The next morning (Thursday), all fields were covered with hoarfrost. Unfortunately, the photo does not show it well.

The secondary road through Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is so narrow that our (Polish) car ahead cannot pass any oncoming vehicle at more than walking pace.
And overtaking is out of the question.

Further on, the road widens again. And... it's dry!

After all that countryside, finally a city again. Berlin, capital of the Federal Republic.

A landmark that can be seen from afar is the Fernsehturm, 368 m (1207 ft) high

The first two overnight sites proposed by Park4Night are not accessible due to works. But the third one offers enough space. And... this place is almost directly opposite the Jewish Museum, where we need to be later this afternoon.

Apart from the Curt Bloch exhibition we came for, we view a small section of the museum.
Things have changed since our last visit, 18 years ago. Fortunately, because stagnation is regression.
It is impracticable to thoroughly explore the entire museum in the short time we have. But still nice to find that of the 10 female rabbis featured, we know three of them personally.

The Curt Bloch exhibition is very impressive. Although we have had a lot of the content on our screens, only now do we realise how many the number of 95 booklets is. All contain between three and eight poems, handwritten, and all are true works of art.

The opening ceremony is crowded, barely a seat left. At the back of the hall, people must stand! Fortunately, we have reserved seats.

One of the speakers is Simone Bloch from New York, Curt's daughter. She was instrumental in bringing this exhibition to fruition, 80 years after the creation of the poems and 49 years after the death of her father.

The next morning, nothing of the whole event is left. However, we can now clearly see the construction of the "Glass Hall".

It is striking how much work is taking place in Berlin. It is as if the last traces of the "Hauptstadt der DDR" have to be erased.

In the evening, there is an informal get-together to which we have been invited by Simone Bloch. Many words of praise are spoken and much delicious Middle Eastern food is eaten.

We sleep in a quiet car park along the Autobahn (there is hardly any freight traffic on weekends). We wake up in a pretty foggy world.

Today we don't have to expect anything from the gigantic fields of solar panels.

The Elbe River again.

Things are going well on the almost empty Autobahn during the weekend!

The bases of the windmills stand like Salvador Dali elephants in the mist.

And the Weser River, near Bremen.

At the motorhome parking lot in Dörpen there are countless sandbags ready for the next flood.

A healthy walk from the motorhome parking brings us to Restaurant Olympia. We eat a delicious little fish and Sylvia rounds off her meal with a cup of exotic coffee.

The German-Dutch border is marked by this viaduct with the two national flags and the stars of the European Union.
Who remembers when you had to show a passport...?

Around noon we park at the former synagogue of Coevorden. 

Here we take part in a course (actually: a brainstorming session) on Jewish heritage in the Northern Netherlands and identity, organised by the Jewish Welfare Department. The two other northern provinces will be discussed in the follow-up sessions.

Another hour and we're home again.

All in all we drove 1350 km (839 mi). It was worth it! If you don't have the opportunity to go to Berlin, we can only recommend visiting the website (available in English, German and Dutch).

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