Berlin was a breath of fresh air after a long time of journeying in Vietnam, taking night buses and trying not to get scammed every day. It was a bit weird to be completely anonymous again, but nice all the same; I was able to practice Ashtanga in the park all three days that I visited Berlin without any interruption or even people staring at me which is something I have come to expect.
Berlin, Germany is a city of history and pain, which I must say is probably the vast majority of European cities. WWII history dominated the city, but in one of the most touching and personalized war exhibits I have ever seen (Austwitz was more personal, but the site’s history is also much more intense). Hitler and the Nazi regime were in full public view in one of the exhibits in the south of the city and the history of the wall was nothing short of incredible.
The wall was up for 28 years; many people thought it would only last a few months. 1,000 people were killed in attempts to cross the wall and 5,000 or so were able to make it; but the fear and mental effects on the people were far more impacting.
It becomes pretty obvious that the Soviet Union was the driving force behind the creation of the wall; their tanks reinforced its creation and it wasn’t until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 that the wall was brought down. In addition, the people of Berlin were nearly all against its construction and it tore the city apart; government officials deliberately told the people there would be no wall and many thought it would only last a few days, maybe months. 28 years later, a church, cemetery, apartments, and countless lives were victims of the wall. The tributes to the people were personalized and specific; reading the stories brought you to the time period and it was easy to understand the grasp that fear had on the Berlin people.
There was another exhibit in the South of Berlin, near Potzdamer Platz that displayed details of the Nazi’s rise to power, making full view of Hitler and his regime’s eventual control over Germany, especially over Berlin. The feature picture of Hitler is from that exhibit. It is amazing to see the political climate that created the third Reich and the amount of control that it took over the German population. There was no explanations, simply facts and personal stories that allowed me formulate what it could have been like back in the 1930s and 40s in Berlin.
The food was great, but the Germans seem to eat about 90% meat (the other 10% is potatoes) which is just not my favorite style of food. I did end up having some Currywurst and Snitchzel, though I’m glad I don’t eat it on a daily basis. The people in Berlin were very kind and even though I didn’t go out at night, you could tell that there was a raging night club scene. If I go back, which I really hope to, that is something I will be doing my best to experience in full throttle. I needed to rest after two weeks of night buses and non-stop traveling in Vietnam.
I stayed in two hostels, both were good, though we stayed at the Pfefferbett and it wasn’t amazing; toilets flooded at night, their magnetic key system was absolutely horrible and the WiFi was bad, but it was pretty clean and the beds were nice. The East Seven Berlin hostel was stellar, clean, WiFi was great and the people who worked the hostel were very friendly. I definitely see myself heading back to Berlin in not too long, maybe for some music! That would be cool.
I recently put some new google Ads up on the site, I’m definitely going to keep them up because I think that they are completely non-intrusive and honestly, I’ve worked hard on this blog and think that I deserve at least some compensation for putting so much work into my writing and what it has become. Also, nothing is free; this blog takes money to maintain and I have been shouldering the cost completely. Think of it like I’m trying to get to the point where this blog is self-sustaining, because right now it isn’t.
So please don’t be turned off, understand that I have to eat like anyone else and I really want to get to the point where this blog sustains itself. Nothing is free. I am also completely out of space on my server so this might be my last couple of pictures for a while. If you are interested in supporting my writing, you can just send me an email @ [email protected]
Otherwise, have a great day, I’m off to explore Prague, possibly the most touristic city in Europe (seriously, tourists are everywhere here). More travel blogging on the way 😉