|window in a coffee shop|
|On the wall at Eastside Gallery|
On average people are very tall, everything is clean and all the trains run on time. Berlin is a city with a complicated past and as I said, they do not hide it.
|We love you Tom|
Now to the many sites and visits during our stay. Having 10 days in one spot was great and we are very happy with our Airbnb choice in Prenzlauer Berg (Stargarder Strasse 57)- a hip area on the north side of Berlin. It is easy to get everywhere which we did mostly by foot but also learned the public transportation system as 10-12 miles a day was enough on some days. (We are in training for our upcoming camino in a few weeks.)
|At YAAM, street art|
On this tour we learned about many of the smaller neighborhoods around Berlin and walked to many of them. We visited Yamm (Young African Art Market) which is a fun Caribbean, african artsy place with food, venues for concerts, reggae music, etc. and also visited Urban Spree - another site along the river with alternative culture.
|Remnants of the wall|
|Memorial to Murdered Jews|
memorial evokes a graveyard for those who were unburied or thrown into unmarked pits, and several uneasily tilting stelae suggest an old, untended, or even desecrated cemetery. The memorial's grid can be read as both an extension of the streets that surround the site and an unnerving evocation of the rigid discipline and bureaucratic order that kept the killing machine grinding along.Visitors have described the monument as isolating, triggered by the massive blocks of concrete, barricading the visitor from street noise and sights of Berlin."
That evening we went to a museum in a Bunker of very the contemporary modern art collection of a couple named Barrows who live on top of the bunker in a very modern and fancy apartment.
Sunday we walked to Mauerpark - along with what seemed like half of the city to a large flee market and food/music spot. Seems to be the traditional summer Sunday activity. Noticeable is the fact that Berliners are always seeking the sun during the summer because their winters are SO long and SO cold. We are really very far north and weather would be like northern Canada.
That night we took a 3 hour circle boat tour all through center of Berlin, both E and W along the River Spree. Seeing the old and new parts of the city from the water at sunset was a completely different vision from the daytime. It also helped to see the size of this city which is the most populated city in Germany.
Next important visit was to the Eastside Gallery where there is 1K of standing wall which has been painted by people from all over the world. Each is identified and it is the art that I referred to above with the controversial reference to the US president and "No more walls!"
We went to Potsdam which is on the outside of town and city of the German Kaisers with large castles and gardens and the site of the Potsdam Conference in 1945 where Truman, Stalin and Churchill gathered to decide how to administer the defeated Nazi Germany and how to establish post war order, peace treaty issues and countering the effects of the war.
|Bridge between Berlin and Potsdam|
Bridge of Spies
During our stay we watched the 2015 Steven Spielberg movie "Bridge of Spies" about exchange of two Americans (Gary Powers U2 pilot and Pryor, a young graduate student and Rudolf Abels a Russian spy. The movie took place on a bridge between Potsdam and Berlin that we walked across - it was good movie about the Cold War.
After all this history it was time to relax and we went with Tom and his friends to lake Liepnitzee for swimming and relaxing. They biked and we walked, getting lost on the way to find them and thanks to my Iphone and google map app we eventually did. My world has changed with the ability to find things so easily with this phone.
Thanks for following my long travelogue - helping me to remember this trip.
Now for a few words from Richard:
Where can I begin about a city that is so progressive in nature that it would make a perfect model for any other town or city that wants to make their world a bit more magical. I can only think that the past was so grave that they wanted it to be totally different and in this way they have succeeded greatly.
The parks are always within walking distance and people ride their bicycles around town. For a city of 3 million you hardly see any traffic and most people follow the laws with little desire to find shortcuts even when crossing the streets. People do have cars and very nice ones but only seem to use them when necessary. There are many cars but they are parked and seem in very good shape.
Being a vegetarian and Susan a vegan the options for good eating in this style abound in every restaurant. Most people here seem to eat many of their meal outside and I can see why. We enjoyed many wonderful meals out in this city. In Berlin sampling the great food options is a big part of being here. (See Susan's blog post on food in Berlin at: http://vegan-food-adventures.blogspot.de/2017/)
We came here primarily to visit with our dear friend Thomas who lives here and with great joy have found another place that we could easily live very happily.
The German people here in Berlin are very tall and seem health conscious not to mention friendly. English is spoken wildly by the young but when possible a German word or two is appreciated. We feel very much at home and I know that we will return again to Berlin in the future. I could say more but I know that Susan has covered much of the trip details. I recommend this city to be put on your bucket list.
Sending love always, Ricardo