Hello sweet peas!!
I am so excited to write this post because, if you didn’t already realise, I am absolutely in love with Berlin!!! On my exchange experience I got to spend a week there with the other New Zealand students, and it was honestly just the coolest experience 😀 So if you can’t decide where you’d like to go in Germany, I would add this to the top of your list ASAP, and here’s a few places that tell you why:
- The Interweaving of History and the Modern Day. My friends and I spent a lot of time remarking on how impressed we were by the way Berlin managed to join the history (the kingdoms, the wars, and of course the spilt of West and East Germany, and ultimately Berlin), to create such symbolic meaning. None of it was overdone, or for show, it was so earnest and effective. This city has to be the most impressive city I have ever been to in this respect. I think a huge example of this is the famous East Side Gallery, which consists of mural upon mural painted on the old wall. We for a walk to it on a particularly foggy evening (in a literary sense maybe I’d make some comment on the mist that encircled the bright murals, but honestly it was more of a hassle when it came to getting good photos haha!!), and we spent around 40mins walking one length of it, just stopping to check out all the contrasting works 😀
- The Way the Landmarks Just Appear! On our first night we got on the U-Bahn (the underground train system) and not knowing where we were going started our walk down the street following our guide from the station. When we tuned the corner there was the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate), in all its glory, just there. I think I went a little crazy, and kept saying how much of a state of disbelief I was in, but honestly after looking at pictures of it for years on our German classroom wall, it was surreal to see it just there! Plus, it was my birthday (technically I was seventeen, because it was my birthday in NZ, but the day before in Germany – that made for some rather contradictory discussions would you believe it haha!), so I was pretty overjoyed that it was just there. To add to it the Reichstag Gebäude was around the corner (the government buildings), and on the street on the other side of the Gate was Unter den Linden (the street famously built by a Kaiser, that was lined with lime trees – hence the name). Everything was so close, and so understated, so casually placed that it was all the more stunning! 🙂
- Everything Has Meaning. This kind of relates to my first point, but truly everywhere you went there was a sense of significance, and everything played its part. More so when you started crossing the river from the former East and West Berlins, if it hadn’t been for the river you wouldn’t really have known! The sense of unity and of significance was so powerful. I recommend if you can looking up photos from when the wall was up so you can reference them when you see where it was. I had no idea. We studied the Wall a bit in German, but it wasn’t until I came upon some post cards in the Neues Museum that were pictures from the 60’s-80’s Berlin that I realised what it looked like – to some extent anyway.
I hope in some way I have conveyed just how much I love Berlin, and why. It is honestly such a cool city, and I can’t wait to get back there ASAP!! I would love to hear your thoughts of Berlin if you have been there, and what you recommend, because I only had a small amount of time to explore the city so I definitely didn’t see nearly enough!!
Until next time,