The last 1/3 of our trip was spent in Berlin and Amsterdam, a significant transition from our tour de Italia. For one thing, the drivers in Berlin didn’t try to constantly run us over like in Rome.
Also, Berlin is a much more modern city in comparison to Florence and Rome. Technically, it’s old in years, but considering that the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it’s still quite a young city. You can feel the new energy of the city when you’re there – tons of interesting street art, up-and-coming neighborhoods, hip restaurants and shops.
We really enjoyed our time in Berlin, simply because it’s such an interesting and dynamic place to be. We went on two walking tours by SANDEMANs – one all-encompassing tour that including a lot of history and interesting tidbits, and one “alternative” tour, which focused on Berlin street art and culture. Both were highly enjoyable, and provided solid overviews of both old and new Berlin.
Overall, while I loved every city we visited, I’m inclined to say that Berlin was my overall favorite. It’s so interesting to think about all that the city has been through in the past 100 years, how it has managed to survive, and how it continues to exist to this day. We had good beer and good food, and met some really friendly and nice people. Also, our hostel, Pfefferbett Hostel, was arguably the nicest one that we stayed in – big bunk beds, in-room lockers that locked with our room keys, comfortable and modern lobby with lots of seating, fast wi-fi, a bar and decent food.
Fall in Berlin:
We saw these crows all over Europe, which caught our attention because of all the grey patches. We looked into it, and apparently they are known as hooded crows:
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This is a very interesting, subtle, thought-provoking memorial, taking up a whole square in Berlin:
More of the memorial:
This is a picture of an unkempt lawn, next to a basic parking lot, for cars that belong to residents of a nearby apartment complex. Why take a photo of this? Because it’s right above Hitler’s bunker, which is now flooded and of course not worth recovering.
Interesting sidenote: during the World Cup in Germany in 2006, Berlin was flooded with tourists, and said tourists were constantly knocking on the nearby apartment doors, asking if this was really the location of Hitler’s bunker. The residents became so annoyed that they paid for a small sign to be placed nearby, which simply states that yes, this is the location of Hitler’s bunker.
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Underground memorial for all of the books burned during World War II (sort of tough to see, but it’s a big empty room of empty book shelves):
Burgermeister! Just because.
This was one of the few buildings that didn’t get totally demolished during the wars, but it still experienced some gun shot damage. All of the white boxes that you see are where the building was hit with bullets and later repaired.
Humboldt Universitaet, where all sorts of famous people have studied – and also where the big incident of Nazi book burning once occurred:
To help pay tribute to all the books that were burned, every day there are a bunch of books on sale in front of the University for half-price:
Jeffrey in one of the exhibits at the Jewish Museum:
One of the exhibits at the Museum – a bit of an oral history exhibit:
We heart you too, Berlin:
View of the Berlin Cathedral from one of the museums on Museum Island:
One of the floors of a big artist co-op in Berlin – tons of graffiti and open studio spaces. We went on a tour of Berlin street art, but it was raining throughout the whole tour, so this was pretty much the only good photo I managed to get.