15 april 2003 berlin

disclaimer: this page is all about panoramas, and panoramas are _w_i_d_e_, so the page may look... you guessed it: wide.

today i bought a photo stitching package called PanaVue ImageAssembler, and naturally got the itch to try it out, so i went for a walk around berlin, looking for panoramic visions. i started snapping shots at the platz between s-bahnhof alexanderplatz and kaufhof, and then went around behind, to the platz which has "das rotes rathaus" ("the red city hall", not "the red rat house") on it. i can't find the proper names of these two squares on my regular map right now.

on the second panorama, you can see from left-to-right: st-marien kirche (st. mary's church), fernsehturm (t.v. tower), rotes rathaus, the old east berlin city hall/community center (low coppery building), and the berlinerdom (cathedral in the background), as well as some other schrott (junk). there isn't really anything interesting on the first panorama, other than the building with the x-men 2 poster, which used to have its lights controlled by a computer club here in berlin, at night. the building is undergoing renovation, i believe, but for a while, they would program the lights to do neat things. one of the best ones was that you could call a certain number on your handy (cellphone) and play pong on the building! there were other neat animations too. it must have been a blast to program. like a low-resolution screen.

finally, there is a statue of two of the good guys: karl marx and friedrich engels. now i don't want any discussion about that; communism was an idealistic and theoretically promising concept which suffered from a series of flawed implementations, and a lack of understanding of how deeply lazy people actually are, when faced with the harsh reality of complete security. here again you can see the old east berlin city hall. although it is pitifully ugly, apparently it was well loved by the east germans, who might have grown up playing in the community centre part of it. the concept and implementation of the building as a place to hang out was much better than the design. i believe it is now being torn down, but there is some controversy over that, partly because some east berliners still love it for the memories, and partly because there is some feeling (partly justified) that almost all of the old east german heritage is being wiped from the face of the country. they want some to remain, for the continuity and as memorial.

then i continued on over past the berlinerdom (berlin dome) and snapped some quick pics there, as well as a smaller panorama, of the "lustgarten" (play-garden more than lust-garden, although it is not certain what they meant back then). the berlinerdom looks large and impressive until you have seen st. peter's basilica in rome. then the berlinerdom looks like it would fit inside st. peter's without touching anywhere. if you don't go to rome (or istanbul), then the berlinerdom looks large and impressive. the palace-looking building is the "altes museum", which means the old museum. they have old trinkets and bits and pieces which don't qualify for archeology or art. in the panorama you may be able to discern a large, beautiful old building looking a little like a greek temple, in the gap between the berlinerdom and the altes museum. this would be the nationalgalerie, which was just reopened last year, and is apparently well worth seeing. i have been planning to go there for a dog's age, but haven't gone yet. it'll happen.
then i strolled down "unter den linden" (under the lime trees), the main street through the business and diplomatic neighbourhood, and the street which empties out at the "brandenburger tor" (brandenburg gates. brandenburg is the province berlin is in). to the left of the gates, you can see the reichstag, the seat of the german government. hint: it's the big one with the german flags on. all the (dead-looking. hey, it's still early spring around here) trees are the west end of tiergarten (animal garden), which is very large and in the summer, very beautiful. don't mind the chopped up cars. even the best software cannot properly stitch on the second half of cars which have moved on. unavoidably, it also confuses the stitching software in that neighbourhood, since it detects mismatches.
i rounded the corner to the reichstag. note the "warteslange" (waiting snake, ie. lineup). this is quite short, especially given that the weather was gorgeous, but then it is early spring on a tuesday. it'll get horrendous later. pretty soon, probably. the funky little (in the picture) building around the middle is the "kanzleramt", which i don't know what is, but i am guessing that it is either where the kanzler (chancellor) works, or where he lives, or maybe both.
the last stop on my trip was to walk past "hauptbahnhof lehrter bahnhof", which is as redundant as it sounds. silly name. it means the main station lehrter station. it is under construction, and will take a while to be done. including the tracks above ground, there will be something like 5 levels of action and underground trains, as well as two large towers. it will serve around a quarter million passengers per day when done! at the front there is a large opening which at the moment they have enough water in (that is the back, with the river spree, in the first pic, not the front), to sail around in a sizable boat. i ought to have taken a picture of the boat, but forgot. dog knows what they are sailing around for, or even what the water is doing there. i don't think it is staying. maybe they are testing for leaks or something, because there is a large hole underneath the pool where the trains will run!
and that was all. all told, i am very pleased with the software. it only comes for windows though. if that doesn't bother you, and you need something like this, go buy it and help support a small company with a good product.