Travelling East: Berlin 2013

Herro, I’m back from bedazzling Berlin! Oh, what a marvellous city, I fell in love all over again. Last year (see here) it was my first stop during my inter-railing trip, and it was my first time Berlin. This year, I finally got the chance to understand the city so much better. It’s the home of my heritage theories professor, and of lots and lots of history. I got the chance to see a lot behind-the-scenes stuff, it was hard to capture through my camera’s lens because of the layered history of all the places I visited. But here’s my attempt, it’s a bit photo heavy.. but I’m happy to explain a thing or two for you.

If you follow my on instagram, you probably have seen some things already. Either way, photos are in chronological order, I’ve seen Berlin on bike, been to Potsdam, to the Jüdisches Museum, the Stasi Archiv, the Kultur Forum, prepared and given a tour in the Altes museum (won the shared 1st place of all the tours on the Museum Insel with my group, whoo) and finished friday morning with pie and darjeeling tea at KaDeWe. It was amazeballs.

We arrived in Berlin around 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and got the chance to fix our own lunch before heading to the bike rental. Our hostel was placed near Alexanderplatz, in a pretty cute neighbourhood with lots of fancy shops and small restaurants and café’s.

We got a tour on bike through pretty much the whole of Berlin, which was pretty ok. But better for those who actually like being on a bike for almost 4 hours. We’ve seen a lot, and got explained some things about places throughout Berlin, but I think the guide of our group wasn’t having his day. So other groups got a lot more out of their biketour. Lucky them. — Checkpoint Charlie was included in the tour, but really… I think I hate that place so much. It’s really made for ignorant tourists who just want a little culture in between their party-holiday, even the historical context of how that place looks right now doesn’t seem right. It’s almost a plastic piece of history, just made real simple and maybe even stupid?

But I’ve got to say, there are still a lot of interesting places to see in Berlin where history is beautifully displayed. Some places where the wall is featured, next to an information centre. Or a house where the bullet holes of World War II are still intact. Very, very intriguing.

The second day I went to visit Potsdam with my group. Unfortunately, the weather was a disaster and I didn’t bring an umbrella. My law professor lend me his extra, so it was all pretty ok. It was interesting to see Potsdam and the park full of Palaces of the former royal family Hohenzollerns. Cecilienhof was the place where the Potsdam Agreement was signed between the UK, USA and USSR. — I thought the Sanssouci palace was the most impressive of all (picture above), but we got there after closing time which was a shame.

This third day was brilliant, even though my feet were hurting like hell I loved visiting the Jüdishes Museum and the Stasi Archiv. The Jüdisches Museum is situated in a strange but, in my opinion, beautiful modern building (outside pictures). It’s not very handy, but I love the spaces and the atmosphere.

The Stasi Archiv was situated in the Stasi Complex, if you look here you can see how huge the complex is. We got a presentation by two of the employees and a little tour around the building. To hear the real facts about the history of the Stasi and how it operated way back when, but also to get a glimpse how people deal with all the facts of the people who were victims of the Stasi was very… cool actually. The whole atmosphere around the building was still very secretive, even though they are trying not to.

Day four, this was the day I won something for the first time in my life. At the Kultur Forum we got more insight about the new Stadtschloss that is being built, and in the afternoon all we did was race around the Museum Insel trying to give a good tour or be a good follower of someone’s tour. Until 5 pm it stayed sunny, but when we got leave for drinks with the whole group as a sort of ending, it started pouring. A bit sad, but the drinks were still good.

If this last picture made you think of Gatsby, you won the toaster! KaDeWe has wonderful shop windows, and this was one of them. I can’t wait to see The Great Gatsby coming week. KaDeWe was wonderful, I got my Lindt Sauerkirsh-Chili Chocolate as I wished.