Berlin, September 2007

Berlin Travel Blog

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meetball statue

i arrived in berlin on saturday from paris, the flight and stuff was on time which was great, no hassles there.  i had a bit of a mission to find the hostel as the s bahn i needed was shut down for work so i had to use my little trick of jumping on any bus and hoping for the best, which actually worked!!  the hostel is cool, apparently the biggest in europe with 908 rooms!  im sharing a room with 2 glas from dublin, helen and neeve who were a good laugh.

1-9-07

i started the mootch of berlin in an area called kurfurstendamm which is a pretty fashionable area to be in.  i strolled down the avenue which is about 2.5 miles just taking in the atmosphere, theres loads of cool buildings and loads of weird arty things like the 'water meatball' which was fun to look at.

spandau street market
  the main attraction for me in this area was the kaiser wilhelm gedachtnis kirche, basically an old church that has survived the war but was partially distroyed.  the church is a reminder  of the war itself and the terrors it caused.  the tower is the main evidence of this and is often referred to as the 'hollow tooth'.

i then headed out to potsdamer platz which is where all the modern stuff is.  it used to be the hub for locals back in the 20s but after the war the place was destroyed and it became a waste land.  since the wall came down the place has been revamped.  the architecture around here is great, there is a mix of old and new together.  just in the square there were some peices of the berlin wall which was amazing but pretty chillin to think of its history.

effiel tower in berlin??

i then headed off to unter den linden, which is a long avenue lined with trees, which again i walked and took in the atmosphere of the place.  not far from here is the reichstag, the parlimentary building which is huge!  at the back of the building there is a big german flag raised, it has been here since the german reuninfication in 1990.  there is also a funky memorial of stones on their sides which marks the death of 97 delegates who were murdered by the third reich.  opposite the reichstag is a memorial for the victims who died trying the escape over the berlin wall.  around 100 people died at the wall.

for some reason i hadnt got my bearings and turned around and there was the brandenburge gate wow!! i was little a little cheshire cat.

world time thingy
  the gate is just beyond words at the moment, i dont think it had sunk in yet.  this is the one thing ive always wanted to see and is stooped in so much history and needless to say i wasnt disappointed.  historically rulers have been obsessed by this part of the city and triophantly marching through it on success of a battle.

in the evening i had a walk around alexanderplatz and saw the massive tv tower in its full glory.  ive never seen anything this tall before, standing at 365m which is the biggest building in the city.  the tower was originally errected to signify that berlin was east germanys capital.

2-9-07

the 3 of us got up pretty early and did the breakfast thing.  i then headed back to alexanderplatz.

holocaust memorial
  this area is one of the oldest parts of the city.  along the walk i came across a statue of marx and engels which was really funny and brought back the memories of a level sociology where these guys idead were batted about forever.  also within the square is the neptune fountain which looks dirty to me but carrys its charm.  it dates back to 1895 and symbolises germanys four main rivers.  the town hall is set aback from the square but again is a good sight, it was designed, apparently to demonstrate the power and the glory of berlin. 

i headed off to find checkpoint charlie and in the process got lost miles away from it.  i did end up seeing an old train station that was completely destroyed appart from the front pillars which was great stuff.

section of the berlin wall
  i eventually found the former allied checkpoint and really liked it.  there wasnt a great deal to see but just being there made me relaise how terrible it was during that specific period of time.

i decided to head out of the city a little to a small district called spandau.  i seemed to time it well as there was a local market going on so i got to see it at its best.  there was a local band playing in a bandstand too which was an experience the music was crap but nevermind!  spandau is made up of loads of small streets very individual and loads of allyways and nooks and crannies which is ace.  the place was actually founded before berlin in 1197 which was interesting to know when walking around.  i had hoped to get into  zitadelle spandau which is the only surviving fotress of berlin, the place was used as a prison in the 19th century but time was running out.

jewish memorial
  i got a look at it thought which was better than nothing.

i headed back into the centre and had a drink and chilled in alexanderplatz watching the world go by pretty much.  theres a funky clock in the square which is a world clock and it works!  bingo.

i went back to the hostel and had a few drinks in the bar.  i bumped into an american, clayton, who was sweet but he could talk a glass eye to sleep :op never the less the cocktails were flowing by this point so i was happy!

3-9-07

i had hoped to go on a tour to the local concentration camp but the leaflet was printed wrong so it had to be missed.  gutted.  i felt sorry for the guide who came to the hostel as i was the only one who had turned up for the tour so i was persuaded to take another tour of berlin which i did.

reichstag
  it was really good actually, although i had covered most of the sights of the tour already it was great listening to the history behind the sights and all the quirky bits they throw in.  the tour was 4 hours and free!  the waether was horrid, mega rain storms but it did clear up before the end of the day.  i cant complain as the weather has been ok here, bright but a little chilly.

we started off at the gate and within the square is a famous hotel, adlon which is where michael jackson was seen on the news hanging the baby out of the window!  we took in reichstag too.  then it was off to the sight of hitlers bunker and where he spend his last few weeks before killing himself.  the site is now a carpark but still is had a chill about it.

memorial
  just opposite, ironically is the site of the holocaust memorial 'memorial to the killed jews of europe'.  its a great piece and fairly new, being built in  2005.  its a massive area of uneven land with different sized grey blocks signifying the six million deaths of jews and others murdered by the nazis in concentration camps between 1933 and 1945.  not far from here there is a strech of the berlin wall still standing, its suprising how thin it was, strange.  we heard about all the attempts of desparate people to escape some failed some successful.  on the back of this section of the wall was the SS headquaters with some remains of the bunkers etc where plans were thought of and actioned.  we headed over to gendarmenmarkt which is a peaceful and beautiful square in berlin.
view from hostel window

i was pretty wrecked after all the walking ive done here, pretty much 7/8 hours a day so it was back to the hostel.  the plan is to have a few drinks in the bar later then get ready for the flight tomorrow.

berlin is a great city.  although its changing all the time everywhere you look reminds you of the history the place and there is still a weird feeling of war around.  i guess you get that everywhere and it makes a place what it is but its very hard to explain what i mean.  ive really enjoyed my time here but dont think its somewhere id want to come back to, im chuffed to bits i put it in the itenery though and for a second time that gate was truely amazing!

next stop...riga, latvia.

clarity25 says:
I love Berlin. I lived in Germany for a number of years and we visited Berlin every few months. It was always a great time. I enjoyed reading this.
Posted on: Sep 03, 2007
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meetball statue
meetball statue
spandau street market
spandau street market
effiel tower in berlin??
effiel tower in berlin??
world time thingy
world time thingy
holocaust memorial
holocaust memorial
section of the berlin wall
section of the berlin wall
jewish memorial
jewish memorial
reichstag
reichstag
memorial
memorial
view from hostel window
view from hostel window
tv tower at night
tv tower at night
old train station
old train station
checkpoint charlie
checkpoint charlie
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Berlin
photo by: CFD