On Wednesday, March 19th after a long day of classes, I hopped on a night train with Jenn to Berlin. I didn't really know what to expect. I knew about the city's intense recent history, but I had no idea what was going to be thrown my way. I can tell you I was not impressed when I disembarked the train the next morning. All I saw were gray concrete buildings, chain stores galore, and an ugly television tower dominating the skyline. There was nothing about the city that was majestic or breathtaking - and that was something I had experienced in most of the cities I had visited. From that point forward, I knew Berlin was going to be different.
After arriving, Jenn and I took the bus to our hostel. I was excited about staying at the hostel because it was a part of the same company that ran our hostel in Budapest, Hungary - Wombat's Hostels. When we got there, it was too early to check into our room, so the woman at the desk recommended a cafe down the street. We proceeded to have a delicious breakfast at this cafe. It was called Blauesband. It had a great vibe, and it was completed by someone's cat napping on the bench next to me. Once our stomachs were full and smiles were on our faces, Jenn and I walked from the cafe to the East Side Gallery. It was a lengthy walk, and I was able to enjoy the pleasant spring weather. The art at the gallery was interesting and provocative. I knew the basic history of the division of Berlin, yet, I didn't have a real visceral and emotional reaction to the happenings until the next day. Here is some of the artwork that I saw:
After visiting the gallery, we took the S-Bahn back to the hostel, met up with Jenn's childhood friend, Jess, and we went to dinner at a restaurant called White Trash Fast Food. It was a converted Chinese Restaurant made into a hard-ass restaurant/bar/club. I had a delicious burger, and my favorite thing about the restaurant was this sign:
Jess, Jenn, and I spent the evening wandering around the Sony Center and the area by the Brandenburg Gate. Chris and Wyatt arrived in town from Nuremberg around 11pm. We capped the night off with drinks at the SkyBar at the hostel overlooking the Berlin skyline.
|The roof of the Sony Center - it changes color periodically.|
|The Neu Synagogue|
|Every single street tree in Berlin in accounted for. There are around 439, 000 street trees.|
|The Brandenburg Gate|
|Where the wall once stood|
|The 56 foot steel sculpture of Georg Elser, the man who tried and failed at killing Hitler in 1939.|
|The Altes Museum - Hitler gave his birthday speech here in 1939.|
|The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe|
|Some of what is left of the Berlin Wall|
That was a wrap for Berlin!