I’ve wanted to go to Berlin for a damn long time. For the history, the food, the culture, the language, the nightlife, the style… the list continues. So my top mate Jolif and I took the plunge and booked our flights, and before we knew it we were flying to Germany’s capital. I could walk through all of the weird and wonderful things we did in typical blog post itinerary style. But why tell when I can show?
The trip had to begin with an obligatory sampling of currywurst, which sounds horrible but was actually pretty delicious. We then went on a monumental pub crawl. The day after this (still not convinced I’m over the hangover), we walked the Berlin wall. I’ll let the photos do the talking.
Compelling, upsetting, creative and beautiful.
Our afternoon was spent enjoying all that Mauer Park had to offer, from its eclectic market stalls, the crazy street performers to the infamous Bearpit karaoke. This had to be one of the highlights of the trip, with brave performers standing in front of an amphitheatre audience to belt out a tune. An enthusiastically physical performance of ‘Reet petite’ and a hilariously seductive version of ‘Ignition’ were my personal favourites. We didn’t quite muster up the courage to sing (a thousand-strong, heckling audience does not appeal), but perhaps one day bravery/stupidity will take wing.
Like many readers before me, I have a fascination with Holocaust Literature, and find it the best way to form any connection to the atrocities in recent German history that people suffered. It’s one thing to read ‘Maus’, ‘The Cattle Truck’, or ‘If this is a man’ to pay respect to victims of tragedy, but quite another to navigate the areas where perpetrators planned and enacted their schemes. We were casually having lunch in the ‘Lustgarten’ green space below one day, and only discovered later that we had been sitting in the exact spot where the Nazi party held some of their most pivotal rallies.
We visited as many museums as we physically had time to get to, which was great as they all provided different perspectives on modern German history. The ‘Topography of Terrors’ was especially informative and the DDR museum offered an intriguing look at typical civilian German life before and during the War. Another highlight for me was walking around the Holocaust memorial.
It’s a controversial memorial that some love and some hate, but I think its unending, confusing and shadowy nature perfectly captures how modern observers see the Holocaust. If I’ve learnt anything in Berlin it’s that this time of history was not black and white or understandable; it was grey, intimidating and beyond comprehension.
We couldn’t visit Berlin without seeing Checkpoint Charlie, juxtaposed of course with a McDonalds.
And the beautiful cathedral…
We prepared for Berlin by talking through the priority places we wanted to visit. But one of the best bits about the city is that in playing the ‘urban flaneur’ and walking everywhere, you see so much that is unexpected.
The architecture and Art is on every street and around every corner. I actually cannot wait to go back.
Ich vermisse dick Berlin!