Category Archives: Museums

German Resistance Memorial Center in Berlin

Berlin’s German Resistance Memorial Center (Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand) is a 13-minute walk from the nearest  subway and train station at Potsdamer Platz, but don’t let that discourage you from visiting. There are two other interesting museums nearby – Modern Art Museum (Neue Nationalgalerie) and the Gallery of Paintings (Gemäldegalerie), though you likely won’t be able to visit all three on the same day, since you should set aside at least three hours for the Resistance Center, more if you plan on being very thorough and read every single display and story about those who stood up to the regime of Nazi Germany.

If you think the museum looks like a nondescript office building from the outside, you are correct – it was built in the early 1900s for the Naval Office, and since 1933 it housed the General Army Office in the Army High Command.

It was in this building that Adolf Hitler announced to the leaders of the German Military (Reichswehr) that he would “conquer new living space (Lebensraum) in the East.”

This building was also the center of an attempted coup against Hitler on July 20, 1944, and a place of execution of the conspirators shortly thereafter. Continue reading German Resistance Memorial Center in Berlin

#ThrowbackThursday: Our Travels (with Kids) 10 and 5 Years Ago

I’m lazy today and don’t want to write much 🙂 so I thought I’d share some of our photos from our travels ten and five years ago. Sometimes it’s really fun to go down the memory lane!

2006 February – Rabka, Poland

During February vacation in 2006 I took my son to Poland to spend some time with my parents. We went to Rabka, Poland, a small town popular with families because of its salt works (it’s a spa town).

My son had fun going sledding with my Dad:

Dziadek (Grandfather) and Wnuczek (grandson) having fun on the sled being pulled by the sleigh in Rabka, Poland, in 2006
Dziadek (Grandfather) and Wnuczek (grandson) having fun on the sled being pulled by the sleigh in Rabka, Poland, in 2006

Continue reading #ThrowbackThursday: Our Travels (with Kids) 10 and 5 Years Ago

Tips for a Fun December Weekend in Boston

Every December the Boston Ballet stages a production of The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. I know it’s a tradition for some families to see the performance every year, but I wasn’t sure whether taking my daughter to see it made sense, because I was afraid she wasn’t mature enough to sit through the two-hour performance.

I was wrong.

This past December 2015, we were lucky to win two tickets to The Nutcracker through a WBUR raffle. (WBUR is a local National Public Radio station, my favorite station that I listen to every day.)

Continue reading Tips for a Fun December Weekend in Boston

Beautiful Art in a Beautiful Building: Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna

Whenever I start my question with “Do you remember that museum we saw in …” my kids give me the look and reply “Which museum? You drag us to at least a couple museums every place we go to!”

But with the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna it was different. I only had to say “Do you remember that museum in Vienna where we had lunch in this really nice round room, where Daddy waved to us from the hole in the ceiling up above?” and they knew exactly which place I was talking about.

My daughter replied with “Was it that place where they had a lot of Egyptian stuff? And all that gold?”

My son added “Was it the one where they had this big painting of a mountain that looked like a tower?”

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Tower of Babel, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Tower of Babel, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Yep, that’s the one.

Continue reading Beautiful Art in a Beautiful Building: Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna

Collegium Maius: Museum of Jagiellonian University in Krakow

May 12, 1364 – Polish King Kazimierz III (Casimir) the Great issues a royal charter establishing a university in Kraków, the capital of Poland at that time.

While there are already some thirty universities in operation in Europe, this is the first university in Poland, and the second oldest in Central Europe. Charles University in Prague was founded some twenty years earlier, in 1348.

The university has no buildings, the lectures are held in various buildings around the city. After Kazimierz’s death in 1370, his successor Louis I of Hungary has no interest supporting the Polish university, so the few professors and students move to Prague or other universities. The kings change, however, and in 1390s, the new king and queen – Władysław II Jagiełło and Jadwiga of Anjou – decide to revive the university and succeed. Jadwiga even bequeaths part of her private wealth and estate to the university.

The following year, 1400 King Jagiełło donates to the university a house he bought near the edge of the city, and inaugurates reopening of the university on July 26, 1400, with 206 students enrolled.

Continue reading Collegium Maius: Museum of Jagiellonian University in Krakow

In the Footsteps of Royalty: Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

Right past the wide open massive iron gates, the vast courtyard is full of tourists eager to catch a glimpse of imperial splendors of the past.

In the times of Emperor Franz Joseph, who reigned from 1848 till 1916, on Mondays and Thursdays any subject of his empire could supposedly ask for an audience with the monarch in his opulent Walnut Room.

What did it feel like, I wonder, to approach the Schönbrunn Palace, crunching gravel underfoot and petition in hand?

Schönbrunn’s size must have must have impressed even the wealthiest of the emperor’s subjects, not to mention the simple city dwellers, if they were in fact ever allowed to see the Emperor.

The grand entrance to the Schönbrunn Palace up close
The grand entrance to the Schönbrunn Palace up close

Continue reading In the Footsteps of Royalty: Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria