Trabi Safari

The iconic Trabant The Trabant was, according to Dan Neil in Time, one of the 50 worst cars of all time. And whilst it can't be doubted that the little car from Zwickau in the former East Germany has its idiosyncrasies, I'm not sure that particular label is very fair. Admittedly it might not make it into the list of the 50 best cars of all time, but the underpowered (26hp), Duroplast bodied (recycled cotton waste and resin) car has become something of an icon since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

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Das Museum in der Runden Ecke

The Runde Ecke Literal translation "The museum in the round corner".

The city of Leipzig in Saxony is universally regarded to have been the starting point of the "Peaceful Revolution" in 1989 which led to the emergence of democracy in what we now refer to as the former GDR. During the period of the communist state, the "Runde Ecke" was a symbol of state oppression as it was the headquarters of the "Ministerium für Staatssicherheit" (MfS) - the term "Staatssicherheit" (state security) is better known by its abbreviated title - the Stasi.

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La Coupole

The V-2 rocket was one of the perceived "Wonder Weapons" or "Wunderwaffe" that it was hoped would get Germany back into World War II. Developed as a brainchild of Wernher von Braun (who would later go on to work for the Americans), it was given the nomenclature Vergeltungswaffe 2 or retaliation weapon in response to the destruction that Allied air forces had brought to German cities in their relentless air campaign. London would be the main target for the V-2 - the first missiles that could reach the stratosphere. On the whole, these 14m high rockets would be launched using mobile equipment in an effort to avoid being targeted by the bombers of the RAF and USAF, however static sites were built and it is possible to visit one thanks to the RAF the Germans were fortunately never able to complete - La Coupole.

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The Vasa

The VasaOn the 16th January 1625 King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden signed a contract for the construction of four new ships, the first of which would, in an eerie similarity with Henry VIII's Mary Rose, sink three years later on her maiden voyage on the 10th August 1628. Having sailed barely 1300 metres, the ship heeled over to port and then heeled again even further. As water gushed in through the open gunports the Vasa's fate was sealed and the mighty warship sank to the bottom of Stockholm harbour with the loss of approximately 30 of the 150 people on board. It would not be seen on the surface again for another 333 years....

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