Berlin, oh Berlin…a city with significant historic sites, home to some of the greatest street-art in the world (you may have picked up a trend here), great nightlife and even better people.
If you enjoy history make sure to allocate a full day to visit memorials and historical sites within the city itself. Two sites in particular really left an impression. First was the Holocaust Memorial or more profoundly known as “The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe”. Designed by Peter Eisenman, the 2,711 concrete slabs of varying height spread out across the site make you wonder what he is trying to say. Supposedly when asked by media he always gave the same response “What do you think?”. So take an hour, walk through the site, and come up with what you think it all means.
Second was the site of Hilter’s suicide – His air raid bunker. While getting slammed in the battle of Berlin Hitler gave orders to have his body burned post suicide to be unrecognisable. Reason being is that he did not want the victors to drag his recognisable body through the streets in celebration. As the government didn’t want to create a place for like minded radicals to congregate the only thing remaining of his bunker after sealing it off is a car park. So if you walk south of the Holocaust Memorial and stand under the biggest tree your standing where Hitler, his wife, and unfortunately their dogs charred remains were left by the remainder of the German resistance.
History is not just limited to the city itself. Potsdamn, a short bike ride outside of Berlin, is home of Sansoucci, the summer palace of William The Great, and the location of the Potsdamn conference. The Potsdamn conference was the last WWII meeting between the “Big Three” heads of state which laid the blueprint for modern day Europe.
Moving to the present, Berlin is home to some of the best street art in the world, epitomised in the Kreuzberg district. While on the overground train I spotted a piece by artist Blu – Blu specialises in large scale stop motion art (see below). So at the next stop I had to jump off and trace the line back to the piece.
In a 2014 ranking of best cities in the world for nightlife Berlin came second to only Ibiza. So I had to go check it out – and Berlin did not disappoint with many clubs opening Friday night and not closing until Monday. There is no club with more mystique and intrigue surrounding it than Berghain. With the title as the most exclusive club in Berlin, due to an insane door policy, I knew I had to give it a go. So I dressed down ( do not try to dress up to impress the doorman, they want industrial style with NO bright colours ) and walked up at 8.50am on a Sunday….and got in. Split over two areas, the main Berghain known as “The church of techno” and a more relaxed Panorama bar for when you need a break. Berghain now holds the title as the best club I’ve ever been to period.
While walking through Berlin you see people from all walks of life – Suits next to goths, and people just “doing their thing”. The openness to peoples differences, bohemian feel, and their “We’re poor but sexy” attitude makes Berlin my favourite city in Germany. After talks with locals, WWII seemed to be the reason Berlin is so open to people and their differences. It was the persecution of peoples differences that caused so much pain – and Berliners still have that fresh in their mind. By acknowledging their past, they are creating a great future.