over the last few weeks i’ve had about 6 people tell me that i should go to berlin. it wasn’t really on my list of places to go, but here i am! it’s true what people have said about it. it’s such a diverse city and there is a place for anyone here … no matter who you are. the vibrant city + loads of history here = a city in europe that shouldn’t be missed. so i’m obviously glad i came! my hostel is great – i love it! there are so many different types of hostels around the world. sometimes i’m in the mood for a smaller hostel, more quaint. sometimes i like the grungier ones. sometimes it’s nice to be in a posh hostel where things are actually more like a hotel … which is what i’m staying in now. a couple of nights ago i went swimming and relaxed in the sauna for a bit. this is not something you would normally find in a hostel. also, they give everyone fresh towels each day … this is unheard of for a hostel setting. so yes, this is more like a hotel with shared rooms and cheap prices. excellent really.
my first day here i went to the east side gallery. this is the longest standing strip of the original berlin wall. in 1990, artists from all over the world painted the east side of the wall, turning it into a colorful and artistic memorial for freedom. it’s really such a beautiful thing. it’s crazy to think about what that wall stood for and all of the horrific things that have happened in this city.
thursday, i went on a free walking tour of the city. learned a lot about the history of berlin. we went to the brandenburg gate, the jewish memorial, the place where hitler’s bunker used to be (which is now below a parking lot), reichstag, check point charlie (major crossing point between east and west berlin during the cold war), a few famous squares (including babelplatz, where the nazi book burning occurred), museum island, and the berlin cathedral. really great tour. just about every city in europe offers a free walking tour and i’ve come to enjoy them so much!
yesterday, i went on a free “alternative” walking tour. walked through areas of friedrichshain, kreuzberg, and mitte and really focused on the street art. there is so much here in berlin, and it’s interesting to hear about the artists and some of their political intention behind what they do. i have always loved street art in an aesthetically pleasing sort of way, but i have never studied it or known much about the artists. our guide introduced us to some work by el bocho, vhils, blu, xoooox, and a few others. walked through a turkish neighborhood in kreuzberg and had lunch at this little jamaican spot in friedrichshain. after the tour, i went to the topography of terror. it’s an open air museum located where the gestapo and SS headquarters used to be. a small part of the berlin wall is right behind the museum, standing in it’s original spot. the museum offered lots of information about what things were like during the nazi regime.
today is my last day in berlin. taking a train to prague tomorrow. i went out this morning/afternoon and just walked around some areas of berlin that i hadn’t been to. didn’t take any photos today … just wanted to walk.
food i’ve eaten in berlin … schnitzel, currywurst, jamaican veggie dish with plantains, falafel wrap, and some really yummy salads at the restuarant here in the hostel. good stuff.