I went to Germany and my preconception was that it would be a regular large city but a bit more industrial. And man, I was sooo wrong. Berlin was awesome! It had a great vibrancy to it. Large parks, many outdoor restaurants patios. Tremendous about of art and culture. Of course the history. It was also more youthful than I imagined. Although I didn’t really have any problems, in any of the cities I went to, English was used much less than I imagined. But I was mostly in tourist areas so, like I said, not really a problem.
Anyhow, I arrived in Berlin, settled into my Hostel and once again set out to explore! Oh in Berlin I met up with my friends Manpreet and her cousin Harpreet. I met Manpreet when I went backpacking 3 years ago and we kept in touch. My hostel is to the left of the yellow building.
So we head off towards Museum Island! Its a small area of Berlin full of Museums!
Of course its not just Museums, there are also stores, parks, restaurants, and The Dom. A fantastic looking Cathedral right off the water.
A few years ago Germany got a bunch of…..artists? well ppl from different countries to decorate a bunch of bears. They are now scattered around the city and I want to say country and world as well but I can’t recall. I took a pic with many of them 😛
This place was just fantastic! I loved it. I’m slowly becoming and bigger and bigger art fan. Any Toronto people know of good art galleries in Toronto? I should look into that. I’ve been to the OCAD and AGO. I like the one in Ottawa. Ah, thats another post. Back to Berlin, the paintings, scultures, even the building itself. Actually I find a lot of buildings in Europe are wonderful. Incredibly decorated walls and ceilings! Actually ceilings are just crazy how much detail and art they put into them sometimes.
Alright, so after the Gallery and some other museums, I checked out the inside of the Dom and actually climbed to the top of it. And as a student i was really cheap (comparatively) I think it was only 3 euro! Coming off UK prices this was like free haha
I kind of just wandered around the city for the rest of the day. But the next day I came back to Museum Island and went on a walking tour of the city. Some of the companies are better than others. I mostly took Sandeman tours because they were free! Although I tried to tip decently so in the end….its almost like a regular tour. Anyhow, I’d recommend them for Berlin, definitely for Prague. And for Munich it was solid, but meh, I’d try something else in Munich.
So after he talked about stuff on Museum Island we walked over to
For 100 years the palace guards were based here, but in 1918 the royal family left Germany and the building changed. Today it is the German Memorial to the Victims of War and Tyranny. Actually this might be the picture of the building across from Neue Wache 😛 I can’t recall since the front of the buildings are very very similar. Here is the inside though. Very simple.
There is no roof above this really. Or theres a large opening in the roof I should say. So its entirely exposed to the elements, rain, snow, etc.
Next we went to Bebelplatz which is the site of some old and interesting buildings but more interesting to me was that it was the site of one of the big book burnings. And it also has some interesting and very understated but incredible memorial/art.
This area is largely manufactured as a tourist attraction now. As the guy in the picture, well if you go by the picture he has awards that were not invented till much after the war and he wears insignia of 3 different ranks. There is a picture of a Soviet soldier on the opposite side and similiar errors affect him.
We then started ending towards the Berlin Wall. I link my pictures from my facebook albums. I didn’t upload a large pic of the Berlin wall but just one I thought was quite cool. Ah well. But first
I think its just incredible that only 20 years ago there were guards all over the place and people struggled and died to try and reach the other side. You see so many amazing things in this city and you also see these things and I don’t know. I can’t imagine that world. I guess I’m highly fortunate I can not. But its so sad to think what those people must have gone through. Another note, its the 20th anniversay since the fall of the wall. In another part of the city part of the wall is decorated by works of artists from when it came down. Those artists are returning to touch up their work for the anniversary. So…yes, the Berlin Wall is being rennovated 😛
We then went through this really cool Jewish Memorial. Its roughly 2400 rectangular blocks of different sizes and angles.
We then started heading towards the Reichstag but got caught in a huge downpour. Well I was able to take shelter.
I think thats enough pictures for Berlin. But I want to say its just an incredible city and I had a blast there. I also really liked how they don’t shy away from the history of ww1 or ww2 but they also make a point of showing in their museums and around the city that, that is not all that Germany is about. They have a history and culture beyond that. So yeah, Berlin and Germany really impressed me and inshaAllah I’ll return some day.
For more pictures you can Click Here
Next stop, Prague!