guten nacht berlin

Berlin Travel Blog

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hi all,
thought i should give you the run down on berlin. overall, an emotionally overwhelming place.
got in fairly late off a cheap easyjet flight from paris. some french schoolgirls on the flight offered me their kinder and biscuits, how sweet of them. i think an aussie was a novelty. the customs at aeroprt d'orly (orly airport) asked to recheck my passport too... 'never seen on of those' he said.
so checked into the hostel. on the bus and train trip, berlin looked to be a little rough. punks, graf everywhere, run down stations and suburbs in places, and lots of rough guys in camo gear.
day one, started at potsdamer platz and checked out the new sony center. did some shopping before walking up to the holocaust memorial. this was totally overwhelming. at first it appeared humble, but once i was inside this enormous grid maze of large blocks of granite, the effect became apparent. as you walk around, you are never out of sight of other people and their gaze.. you can't help but feel the persecution; well i couldn't, maybe it is subjective, but it was amazing. then went up to brandenburg gate, sort of pales after the arche de triomphe, then onto the reichstag (parliament). this was quite a grand building.
next made my way along the main street, unter den lindin. this street is lined with beautifuil baroque architecture. on the museum island is more stunning architecture, a gorgeous domed cathedral. across the river lies the rathaus (city hall; literally, red house) and the deutsche telecom tower, one of the tallest structures in europe. returned home to relax and get some shut eye, and get out of the freezing cold!
day two, and off to checkpoint charlie, and the wall museum. again, more suffering and torment for the berlin people. that choking feeling returns at the endurance these people displayed, but jubilation as the wall comes down and unification of a tortured city ensues. pass by the jewish museum, a jagged work of architecture, emotionally and physically. then off to the city to see what i missed the day before. for the first time i notice the peppering of bulletholes, punctuated by craters from shells, all over many of the older facades. if the holes aren't present patches of plaster are. then off to the east side gallery, the longest remaining part of the berlin wall intact, roughly a mile long. it is covered in the art of jubilation, and the memories of families and friends seperated, plus comments from people from all over the world.
finish the night by visiting a gay bar. once again, by chance, my hostel is located in poofter central. things here are different from le marais though. fetische clubs behind locked doors, military, leather and rubber shops, rough sex clubs. two becks and i'm off home. having experienced the suffering of berlin over the last two days, i can almost understand the sado-masochistic ways in expressing emotions... almost!
on the final day, i potter around a little, then get ready to head off to prague. i was going to go to dresden, but feel i need relief from germany. alone in a hotel room, in a lonely part of town, the night before i leave, i can't help but be overwhelmed at the level of emotion felt by this city. it can be felt in the bullet holes on baroque columns, the rough torn surface that once made up part of the innards of a wall that divided a family and a community, and the sharp, architecturally designed lines of a museum dedicated to people who have suffered like no other, the jews. doing berlin alone, at the onset of a cold winter tide, takes you to a place in your mind you have never been before.
good bye berlin, one day i shall return, maybe with company, and maybe in the spring time.
love to you all, whereever you are,
jared xoxo...
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photo by: CFD