Travel Diary • Berlin #1

Travel Diary Berlin #1 (13)

As promised here’s my Travel Diary for Berlin. Mind you, I didn’t get to see that much, because basically Thursday and Friday were packed with meetings! So I only really had 2 days in Berlin, which is never enough!

And I certainly wouldn’t have made use of those 2 days if it hadn’t been for my parents to come down to Berlin. Living so far away, being so broke (both myself and my parents) we hardly see each other anymore and I really hate that. So we had to make the most of it all :)

On Saturday, I took them to the area “behind the Wall” on the east side of it – I told you the complex pre-story of my parents and my family and my upbringing in my Ode to Berlin post (give it a read, trust me, my parents’ backstory is super fascinating).

First we went to Hackischer Markt, which actually turned out to be near where my mum’s dad lived, so we went to find that, which she still knew by heart, by instinct even after so many decades. We walked past a set of Jewish memorial figurines and houses riddled with bullet holes, which is quite standard for Berlin.

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We even met a dad and his daughter who were living in my mum’s dad’s house and we got chatting with them for ages until I boldly asked whether she could maybe see their flat (as you do, lol) and they said yes!!

We then went on basically running around aimlessly in the streets, enjoying the beautiful sunset and just reminiscing about history and reveling in the fact that we survived it all and how wonderful life has become.

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I love Berlin’s architecture – the streets are so wide with enough space for pedestrians as well as a safe area for cyclist and cars. And for some reason it seems quite quiet in Berlin, even though it’s massive and there’s millions of people and even when you’re close to the centre like we were – it’s still peaceful.

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One of my favourite things about Berlin, and I think it is totally unique to Berlin in its scale, is the backyards. Like on the picture below, Berlin has lots and lots of backyards, with more flats and gardens and whatnots. You can find cafes tucked away there, or agencies, galleries, bars. Anything! It’s like discovering a sort of hidden world. You see the front-side of the street and buildings but between the one street and the other street, there’s like Narnia or something ;)

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We went on towards one of the actual streets that the Wall used to long along, where on the one side you can see the Westernised buildings and on the other side you can see the Russianised buildings, the kind of architecture that is grey and cheap.

I mean who builds apartment blocks like this? These are flats. Those metal things in front of the windows are meant to be fixtures for little rectangular plant pots/trays. I actually asked my parents whether this used to be a prison…

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We wanted to get some drinks to warm up before we were meeting Dany for Mexican food so we walked along the Spree river which is obviously lined with so many bars it’s hard to choose.

But the last time I went to Berlin, we kept going back to an area by the river that was looking onto the buildings on the Museeumsinsel (“island of museums”) which are of Renaissance and Neo Classical style.

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Ultimately we ended up in a Viennese style cafe/hotel/restaurant, just above a bar that kept displaying this:

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It’s so very Berlin-esque – people are so politically active there, what with the city playing such a dramatic, pivotal role and so many stories of recent history.

After this we just headed off to meet Dany.

auf deutsch / in german


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