Last weekend I visited Berlin. It was a very different vibe then I get from Paris. I don’t know which words I would use to describe it, but if I had to try: cold, grey, bleak, desolate. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that I visited, it just didn’t hold the charm and character that I have found in so many other towns and cities.
Graffiti covers every surface in Berlin
The first day, my friends and I took a 3 hour walking tour of Berlin. We saw the “sights” which mainly consisted of Brandenburg Gate and the remnants of the Berlin Wall. My favorite part of the tour was stopping in a parking lot and our guide telling us, “you are standing on top of Hitler’s bunker.” There wasn’t even a plaque saying so—just the way it should be.
Walking through the gate from West Berlin to East BerlinHitlers Bunker
We also visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The architect/artist left the memorial up for you own interpretation. You walk through the varying statues to get the feel for the memorial-you don’t just look. What I got from it was that as a Jew, you couldn’t see what ahead of you or see anyone around you, you were alone, there was no way out, but somehow you were still able to see the light.
I also wanted to share an obituary of a family friend I had the absolute pleasure of knowing. A holocaust survivor, Charlene Schiff led an eventful life full of difficulties I can’t even imagine.
I visited Checkpoint Charlie Museum, dedicated to ways people went about crossing the Berlin Wall and the Jewish Museum. The Jewish Museum was beautiful-the actual building it shaped as a broken Jewish Star.
Checkpoint Charlie MuseumI found out that “Lehrman” and other versions are quite GermanHiding spots to cross Berlin WallSign still in place from Berlin WallChilling exhibit, you actually walk on these iron faces depicting Jews
As far as culture, I enjoyed siting outside at a Biergarten (even though it was freezing), eating sauerkraut and döner kabob, and going clubbing until the wee hours of the morning. And of course, going to the largest chocolatier in the world.
Biergarten on a boat, Van Loon (I highly recommend it)My abroad friends, Brigitte on left and Kate on rightAsked waiter for something traditional. Got this. In Germany, they add flavors to the beer. Please notice the snow on the ground.A walk through the TiergartenTraditional German plates Yum.