I’ll just go ahead and admit that I’m not at all interested in the history of Berlin. Not even a little bit curious. I don’t know why, but the city has never appealed to me. We were planning on skipping it, but we decided to stop there after talking to so many backpackers that loved it.
I didn’t exactly fall in love with Berlin, but I’m glad we saw it. While we were there, I mainly felt like I wasn’t cool enough to belong there. If you are an artist, or a hipster, or a punk rocker, or a skater, or really into any alternative scene at all, I’m sure Berlin would be your favorite place in the world. It’s filled with art galleries, clubs, vintage stores,??gutter punks, and graffiti. I don’t think you can walk ten feet without seeing “FREE PUSSY RIOT” scribbled on a wall. However, as I am not specifically involved in any subculture, I mostly just felt out of place.
First we went to see what’s left of the Berlin Wall. Even this was boring and stupid for me, mainly because the original??graffiti??has been replaced by ridiculous murals of doves and children. I’m sure they were trying to make a monument to peace, but most of it was over-the-top cheesy. I think the original graffiti would have been fascinating to see.
Since Berlin has many different districts, it would take quite a while to explore them all. Because of that, most of what we saw was in the Mitte. The most striking landmark in that entire area is the Fernsehturm, a TV tower that was built in 1969 in the Communist side of Berlin. The people of Berlin call it “the asparagus,” but we think it looks like a disco ball. Besides how ugly it is, what’s really funny about the secular Fernsehturm is that when the sun shines on it, the reflection looks like a cross, something the Soviets weren’t planning on. The effect became known as “The Pope’s Revenge” and supposedly the architect paid a heavy price for his mistake.
I was surprised by all the beautiful old buildings, especially those in the??Museum??Island area. (Once again, we didn’t actually go inside any of the??museums, we just looked at them from the outside.) But by far the coolest place we went was the??Tempelhof Airport, once the site of the Berlin Airlift, now a park. They haven’t changed much of it, which is what makes it so cool. The runways are perfect for running, biking, roller blading, or just walking. In the huge fields between the runways we saw people eating, playing soccer, and flying kites. We saw several young guys kiteskating, using large kites to pull them on skates or skateboards. Some of them could jump about twenty feet high and do tricks. I thought it was cool to see how many ways people could enjoy an abandoned airport.
So overall, I’d recommend a stop in Berlin, especially when you factor in the cost. It’s quite a bit cheaper than the other European cities we’ve visited. We probably should have spent more time there, but at least we saw it.