Berlin, September 2007
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
the 3 of us got up pretty early and did the breakfast thing. i then headed back to alexanderplatz.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.