Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Berlin—A Multi-Cultural Extravaganza

The next morning after a long day of flight and a magical first evening, Sally and I awoke at the early hour of 6AM (a side-effect of our slight jet-lag) and continued our adventure. My first task of the day involved going to a nearby Aldi’s and getting food for our breakfasts during our stay in Berlin. Going to Aldi’s was amazing! Not only were the prices affordable, but the selection of food was amazing with more variety in cheese than I had seen in two years.

TV Tower
This was my first time in Berlin, and I have to say it is a beautiful and amazing city. There is such an emphasis on parks and bikes throughout the city, and this time of the year everything is a deep green that reminds me of home. All of the streets and walls have spray painted tags and artwork, and the people seem to value freedom of expression. Sally and I have seen people dressed (or undressed) in all sorts of fashions.
Doner kabob


Brandenburg Gate
In the middle of our first full day in Berlin, we experienced an extravaganza of multi-cultural celebrations. We had just been to the top of the iconic TV Tower and were walking past the Berlin Cathedral on our way to the famous Brandenburg Gate, when we found ourselves in the midst of a Hindi celebration. Hundreds of people danced to the rhythmic chant of a lead priest who sang out the names of various Hindi deities. We watched this for a little bit before continuing our walk only to discover a street performer who was delicately rolling crystal balls over the tips of his fingers, shoulders, and head. A little further down the road, we were suddenly herded into an open air street market of various foods and artesian vendors. When we arrived at the Brandenburg Gate with its dedication to victory, we passed through it only to discover a tight rope walker who was just falling into a net. Then we crossed the street into the scenic Tier Garten and were immersed in the quiet of a forest. In no other city have I experienced such celebration of varieties of culture. Berlin is the kind of city that you read about in a fantasy novel (a city in which the author tries to convey a sense of raw personality and culture), but I’ve never really thought these kinds of cities existed until now.
Victory Column 

Bellevue Palace

Sally in a throne at our first Berlin Restaurant 
Yet, within the lively atmosphere, there is still the reconciliation of past with present. Memorials and monuments to the war commemorate those lost and remind us of atrocities that can never be repeated. Even more recent in the history is the Wall that separated the east from the west during the cold war. To an outsider, the lively artwork that dots every spare space and wall of the city is an outcry against the past. People in Berlin are intimately aware of the damage and pain that occurs when a wall is erected.

Above: Checkpoint Charlie, Right and Below:Jewish Memorial 

So as my first European city, Berlin has been amazing! Rather than explain everything we did and ate, I’ll just list our activities for the past few days.

East Side Gallery

Things We Did and Saw in Berlin:
1.      TV Tower
2.      St. Mary’s Cathedral
3.      St. Hedwig’s Cathedral
4.      Brandenburg Gate
5.      Tier Garten—Large park west of the Brandenburg Gate
6.      Victory Column—Erected with Brandenburg Gate to celebrate Germany becoming a nation in the 19th century.
7.      Bellevue Palace—located in Tiergarten, residence of German Prime Minister
8.      Topography of Terror—Memorial wall with the history of the rise and fall of Nazi power.
9.      Checkpoint Charlie—iconic allies checkpoint station during the Cold War
10.  Palace of Tears—Building where Germans trying to travel to West Germany were processed by Soviet customs.
11.  Jewish Memorial
12.  Magicum—Museum of Magic and a magic show
13.  Alte Liebe Restaurant
14.  East Side Gallery—longest stretch to the wall still standing that displays artwork dedicated to peace.

Things We Ate:
1.      Doner kabobs—Berlin street food, like a gyro, but better
2.      Currywurst—Berlin street food, a thick sausage covered in a sweet curry sauce
3.      Pork knuckles—whole knuckles of a pig boiled to perfection on a bed of sauerkraut
4.      Stuffed egg topped with herring—not a favorite
5.      Bavarian cheese meat—more of light meat loaf without cheese
6.      Schnitzel—breaded pan fried meat
7.      Lots of ice cream
8.      Various German beers

Dinner at Alte Liebe in a boat on a peaceful lake in the outskirts of the city

More adventures coming soon!!


No comments:

Post a Comment