While I’m writing this I’m currently sat at a cafe in a area in Berlin called Kreuzberg. It’s like the Fitzroy of Berlin. Sadly, I fly out to the UK this evening. I feel like my time in Berlin has just flown.
I arrived in Germany on the 31st of July at 9am after a very long night. I had slept a total of 2 hours on a airport chair while I waited go check in. Oh the joys of travelling. While I was checking in, I was using every ounce of will power not to fall asleep. I don’t recall the hour flight Berlin, I was crawled up leaning on the window fast asleep.
After collecting my bags from the airport I took a bus and the under-ground train from Tegel to Berlin. I had hours to waste before I get get the keys to my Air Bnb so I was walking around central Berlin looking like a choo-choo train. It must’ve been quite a sight. On my back I had my camera bag and my back pack, around my neck was my satchel that held my passport and purse then trailing behind connected by a yellow rope and clip was my suitcase. It must’ve been quite the sight for those who passed me.
Passing time, I got lunch from a small superfood cafe. There were no seats available but a man was nice enough to invite him to sit with me. He was really friendly and he told me his top places to visit.
My first day of Berlin was spent meeting new people. In the morning I went on a free walking tour around East Berlin. The tour guide was a young British guy who had been a history teacher previously in England, he was really insightful and during the tour he explained the history of the areas that we were visiting.
Later in the evening I went on a Bar Crawl organised by the, a tour company. For what you paid for you would get free entry to all of the club/bars you visit and a shot at each one. From meeting people at the walking tour I thought that a pub crawl tour would be a great way to meet new people. The pub crawl tour was quite a large group as there were people from England, Ireland, America and other countries around Europe. I had a great night and met so many nice people. The tour guides were really lovely too.
Sunday, I went to a popular flee market called Maurer Park. It was quite big and located in the where they also have the public karaoke. It was a 30 degree day with the sun shining and lots of people about. The market stalls varied from small businesses, small market stalls and people selling their second hand clothes. Walking around the market you call smell the food vendors and people busking along the street.
I brought the things that I had wanted to after doing 3 rounds of the market, then I decided to head back to central Berlin via the Berlin Wall museum. Near the market was a section of the Berlin Wall which had been kept exactly as it was with the security system still in place. I passed by it and you could see images of people who had attempted to cross the wall.
In the evening, I went to see a play at playwright Bertolt-Brecht’s theatre called the Berliner Ensemble. This was something that I had been keen to so because I studied the playwright in VCE and he was the topic of my year 12 solo exam. When I arrived at the theatre I was awestruck. In front of the theatre is a statue of him and so of course I needed to get a picture next to it. The play that I went to see was the called Max and Moritz. It’s based on the old German tale about two German boys who loved to prank people. It was quite interesting seeing the play in a theatre that was once where Bertolt-Brecht created and performed his plays. The theatre was beautiful with water features inside and paintings as well as sculptures the roof. Sadly, the entire play was in German so it was difficult to understand what went on. But it was an experience.
On the 3rd of June I went and looked around the garden to see a few of the sights that were within. It had been numerous days with the weather being 30 degrees so It was vey nice having the sunshine. I started my way at the top of the garden and made my way down. I was able to see the Berlin Victory Column which was what stood out from when you walk through Brandenburg Gate. I also saw the glass tower from the outside which over looked all of Berlin which required a security check for entry.
As a souvenir for my trip to Berlin I purchased a photography tour which meant that a photographer would take me around a hidden part of Berlin and take my pictures as we went. I really enjoyed the experience as he had a great insight about the area and he kept giving me insight about what to do during my time here.
Later in the evening I walked around Kreuzberg to see what was around. It was still very nice out and there were lots of people around having dinner as well as walking the streets. I stopped at a German vegan burger restaurant and met two German musicians who were eating outside. One was a drummer who played the drums for people’s bands and he other was a singer who also played the guitar. It was so nice as I had a little bit of company and to share my dinner with.
On one of my last days in Berlin I spent the day going to the Berlin Holocaust Memorial at the concentration camp in Oranienburg. Even though it was a memorial, once you get past first information centre it is very much still like the working concentration camp that it once was. Getting out of the station, as a tour group we made the same walk that the victims would have once done to the camp. As you got closer, you could see houses which were made to house the officers that worked at the camp and a officer base which is still used as a police academy.
Entering the camp you walked through a tower gate which lead you to the camp. Everything was the exact same as what had it been. The was a large fence that went around the perimeter, rooms for sleeping that at the time wouldn’t been very overcrowded. It was a very hard experience because it was very heavy and emotional.
The nice part about travelling was that I was able to meet new people. One night I amazingly had dinner with a couple from Sydney. We were both looking for the same restaurant which was closed. Both unsure of where to go, together we found a new place to eat. I also met a man who owned one of the market stalls. It’s been so nice meeting new people during my travels. It’s crazy that you meet these people for like 5 minutes but you’ll probably never every see them again. It’s nice in the moment.
During my last few days I spent it exploring the city, finding monuments that I hadn’t seen before. I looked around Berlin stopping at what I hadn’t seen.
Next stop: London!