Saturday, February 07, 2009
Generally on this blog I pop off someplace for a minibreak and all you lot get is ‘went to xxx, it was fabulous, had lovely time, got pissed, you should go there’ etc. Well not this time people, not this time. Because this I am going to give you a blow by blow account of my 5 days in Berlin. God it went quick. I love Berlin, it is fabulous, I had a lovely time, got pissed, and you should defo go there.
Holiday got off to healthy start with a couple of pints in departures and a couple of g&ts at 30,000 ft. We landed in very grim cold weather, found hostel with very little drama. Had a couple of drinks and then somehow got sucked into pub crawl with vile, revolting drunk Australians. Made a getaway and found a cosy pub to drink (Berlin so cheap in little luxuries such as fags and beer and Jagermeister, the last of which I only bought because it was cheap) in for several hours, got back to hostel at 4am. Fell out of elevator and Paddy did the comedy falling over me, it must have looked quite amusing on the CCTV. Woke up dying several hours later and dragged our sorry bums down to Alexanderplatz for lunch. This place was quite a pivotal spot for East Berlin, it’s where they built their great big TV tower. Had some lunch and then popped down to Jewish museum. Place itself a very cool space but both of us knackered. Had a beer, found very reasonable (aren’t they all) Italian restaurant and then had early night.
Much snow fell over night and I woke up totally refreshed and navigated myself over with relative ease to find my free walking tour. The snow was falling but it wasn’t windy or particularly cold, and the Brandenburg gate looked very lovely in the whiteness. I didn’t realise that the Wall had actually passed just behind the gate itself, and so I took quite a lot of pleasure in running from one side of the street to the other where the wall had been – literally going from the east and to the west and back again. Saw where a certain person had a certain bunker – and was very happy to hear Berliners remember him in their own way by bringing their dogs there. But it was the rest of the Wall (Mauer) which really affected me and I don’t know why – just seems a very bizarre thing to do, to lock your own people up. (Further extraordinary bit of trivia is that whilst the city was divided, there were ghost stations on the s + u bahn the west Berliners would pass through on trains that were actually in East Berlin! Crazy eh!)
Saw many other extraordinary landmarks, then came to Bebelplatz where a certain party thought it was a good idea to put lots and lots of books in a great big pile and burn them to cinders in 1933. The fact that that happened made me very very sad. (I won't get too bloody deep and philosophical here but honestly, the written word is mankinds greatest achievement, I couldn’t give a toss about other crap we might have made up along the way, and to burn someone’s life work is just…..so so barbaric). See a quote from this person here: "Where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too." So horribly prophetic. I was heartened to see however that the Humbolt University have a little book stall outside on the pavement, in some sort of atonement for it. Not entirely necessary but a lovely gesture I thought. Go Berlin.
Finished tour up on MuseumIsland and then went and had something to eat, then went to visit an Irish pub (well, obvs) and then down to Hellesmans tor. Went to a lovely grungey dark dingy pub (my favourite kind) and met some lovely people and partied with them til the wee smalls.
Both of us hanging by threads the next day, and I made Paddy come to the east side gallerywith me. This is stretch of the wall and is one of the biggest open air galleries in the world, I believe. So so cool all the murals there, especially inline with all the cool street art they have all around the city. The wind chill must have been something like -10 so we didn’t spend that much time there unfortunately.
What an amazing city, so cool, so much to see people there laid back have a sort of a no fuss attitude, compared to the next biggest city I have been to (London, take note, you can wait for other people to get off the train first, watch the Berliners). And so apart from the freezing cold, it was way cool. I am going in summer next time.