Berlin – September 14th, 2009.
Berlin is full of history. Recent history. War. Segregation. Unity. You can’t really escape it. It may not be pretty but its an exciting place to visit if not for the wall and brandenburg tor but for the bustling nightlife and amazing sub sections of culture that lie within.
I set off on foot from my hostel towards the topography of terror which is a really interesting exhibit. Before getting to the exhibit I find myself out the front of a remaining section of the wall. Its rather surreal that this thing, just over 20 years ago, segregated the town in two.
The Topography of terror exhibit is an informative and insightful visit (thats free!) about the gestapo and SS HQ. Its frightenly graphic (so probably dont bring the kids) and open Its a very interesting place to visit.
I then walk and follow the path of the Berlin wall. Right up to Checkpoint Charlie. One of the numerous checkpoints that existed along the wall. This one seems to be the most famous, only due to it being exploited as a tourist point. Though there is a checkpoint charlie museum there is a wall across the street that gives you all the information one needs about this place.
I got a call from a fellow CS traveller Florian and we plan to meet at the Brandenburg Tor (Gates). I make my way there after getting some Nestle Chocolate Wafer things that are delish and head down Unter Den Linden which is a pretty cool boulevard, though pretty fashionable, to the end where lies the Brandenburg Gate. Its pretty impressive despite the fake ‘US and German Military guys giving out passport stamps’. Travesty really.
I meet up with Florian and we head through the Tiergarten, where we find strange cubby houses up high trees with no access to them. Weird. We make it to this cultural house but there isn’t much there. So We decide to go to the Siegessaule (the big high tower with the gold angel on top). We climb up and its a pretty good view from the top below the angels feet.
We then walk through the park, crossing closed bridges and finding ourselves out the front of the zoo before going to a nearby church called Wilhelm-gedachtniskirche. The beautiful thing about this church is that it is still in ruins after British Bombers damaged it in 1943. Its incredible. And we have some bratwurst to fuel our hunger pains.
I say goodbye and then head to the hostel for a quick dinner of pasta. Back to the staples as this place is expensive. Before going to meet a mate at Oranienburger Tor. Florian also comes along. The bars aren’t really happening at the moment so we traverse the streets buying cheap beers at corner stores and walking around. There is an indescrible number of girls in tight white shorts and thigh high boots trying to sell themselves. Kind of funny.
We end up near the TV tower somehow and find ourselves at a beer garden drinking a few pints. Before going to some bar that had a Ramone lookalike DJ. And then we hit up Tacheles. And its quite the area (5 different bars in one building with different themes). Its dirty and grafitti ridden in places. But its a fanatastic area to enjoy a night.