Right Inn The Middle of Berlin!
Trip Start Aug 26, 2008
145Trip End Aug 17, 2009
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Where I stayed
Hostel Inn The Middle
When we arrived it was cold and rainy. The rain eventually gave way to just plain cold and gray skies. Berlin seemed all concrete steel, mud, and wet. We wandered south past the Topographie of Terror--the old SS headquarters near the remains of the Berlin Wall. After reaching the river, we headed back north to take a look at the Jewish museum and various other sights before returning to the hostel to cook up supper. After supper and some time updating and handling various internet-related objects, we headed out yet again to hunt for a nightclub. Because we left a bit late, the subway shut down and we ended up spending more time than we would have liked exploring Berlin's night bus system
The following morning, we rose in time to join a walking tour of the city center. Seeing the sights between the Brandenburg Gate and the TV tower with a colorful narration was a real treat. It also helped that the rain had given way to a pleasantly cool, partly-sunny day.
That night we sampled some of the Berlin nightlife in a club underneath the railway. It was an amazing venue.
The next day--Thursday--we headed north, past the Brandenburg Gate and over the river to Tachales, a bombed-out department store converted into artist's studios. It was an interesting place, and best of all--free! Some of the art was fairly good, and the rest was so-so. The entire building was plastered with graffiti and handbills.
Thursday night from 6-10, many museums in Berlin are free, so we headed to "Museum Island" to take advantage of the discount. We toured through one of the art museums and a history museum before running out of time and returning to our hostel.
Friday, our last day in Berlin, we took advantage of our newly-aquired German Rail Pass (4 days travel on the rail system for 2 for about 64e per day. Expensive, but much cheaper than individual tickets) to ride down to the Gedakteskirche and the zoo area. It was a lively place but we were short on time and had to leave early to catch our ICE train to Hamburg.
Overall, Berlin, to us, seemed to have a subdued nature about it. In the streets, even in the middle of the day, it is amazingly quiet. Roads are broad but carry little traffic and sometimes you feel the need to whisper, even in the middle of the afternoon. The center of Berlin is certainly one of the quietest cities we have ever visited.
There are memorials and reminders of the war and separation everywhere. A cobblestone path through the city denotes where the Berlin Wall once stood and a few sections of it are still standing. There are monuments and memorials in the heart of the seat of government to the victims of Nazi terror as well as to the casualties of WWII. Because 90% of the city was destroyed during the war, almost every building is less than 70 years old, even the museums and churches are replicas of the original buildings, which were leveled during the war. With all the rebuilding and turmoil the city has been through, it is little wonder that they are broke to the tune of 58 billion euros. Still, Berlin is a beautiful and fun place to visit, despite it's sometimes somber mood.