13 January 2012

Berlin, Berlin

What do you do when you go travelling? Iva and I like to take a walk around the city center, take some silly photos and have a cup of coffee somewhere we think it’s special. We rarely go to places that are very well advertised for tourists...and NEVER take sightseeing tours. We’re exploring it on our own and trying to experience the life in that particular city! :) So all we need is a map of the city in our pocket.

So far I have visited capitals such as Vienna, Prague, Belgrade, Krakow, Paris, Athens...but in any of those cities I haven't experienced such monumentality. Iva was telling me about it (since she was in Berlin before), but I didn't really expect it to leave such an impression on me. We arrived at night, so the buildings were additionally lightened with the whole spectrum of colored reflectors. I felt like some show is about to start any minute now. In addition, it was just in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, so there were some more light decorations along the streets.

I love walking around the unknown city, using public transport, watch people around me and hear the language... And I loved it once more, except for the language part - there is no way you will hear German on the streets of Berlin. Okay, I might be over exaggerating just a little bit, after all it is the capitol of Germany...but, when you are in doubt where you should go, or you need an advice, do not expect to just turn around and ask the first person standing next to you. In 60% of the cases that person will not be able to speak German and in 80% of the cases that person will not be from Berlin.

Berlin is famous for many places and they are a must-see. It would be nice to see or visit at least a dozen of them, because it is not hard to get there and they give you both historical and cultural background.

BUT, I would never recommend you to literally waste your whole trip on sightseeing. Yes, there are important parts of the city, but they are not everything. My advice is to choose and visit only what you find interesting. If you get in contact with the city through the medium you know something about, you will probably be able to get a better impression of your new surroundings instead of just running around in a frenzy search of little white papers that say: "This interesting piece/building/floor/painting/blah is famous for blah-blah". They give you the facts, but you are the one who has to get an impression!

So, what did we see and where did we go?

Apart from the TV tower on Alexanderplatz, The Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust memorial, Berlin Wall, Museum Island, Siegessäule, Jewish Museum and other attractions, a few places made quite an impression on me and I think they deserve to be pointed out separately.

Humboldt box – a showcase built as a temporary advertisement of the future project “Humboldt-Forum” that is about to be built. It is a small blue and white box-shaped building dedicated to science, art, culture and the new global society. With its distinctive appearance in the street, the moment you spot it, it evokes your curiosity about it and from that moment you won’t be satisfied until you go there :). It is a highly interactive modern showcase that provides you a chance to be affiliated with many different exhibits. The part that I liked the most was the “University floor”. The moment you come inside, you become indecisive – weather you want to sit into an egg-shaped chair and listen to different music from all over the world or do you want to curl up into an ergonomically designed reading chair in the wall with a good book, or maybe just relax in one of the bean bags lying around. And finally, after the exhibition, you can come onto the terrace and admire the wonderful look down the Unter den Linden Strasse.

Kunsthaus Tacheles - a place definitely worth visiting. Five of us were there and all of us walked out with a different opinion. This is my opinion. Tacheles so called art center situated in a ruin, which is very close to the city center. It is a smelly abandoned building covered with graffiti, and it is populated by street artists who have their ateliers there and you can buy something directly from them if you like it. It is an interesting thing to see, but personally, I had no feeling of art for most of the stuff lying around. In my opinion art has to find the right questions and possibly give an answer to them, and there were only few pieces that I found worthy to be called art by those criteria. Another thing I didn't like was that they claim they are struggling artists and at the same moment they will put a €50 price on a piece of twisted metal representing nothing. I am not sure if it makes sense.

Reichstag - technically we did go there, but we didn't manage to get inside since you need to reserve a ticket at least 2 days earlier - conclusion - nice façade ;)

Potsdamerplatz - a square that is always crowded with people, it gives you an extreme sense of life in rush, and with those few wonderful giant buildings surrounding it, it makes an unforgettable impression!

Have you ever been to Berlin? If not, would you like to visit it?

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