Berlin, Berlin, Berlin. I love Berlin. Five days with the missus is always five days worth having but with Berlin as a backdrop things couldn’t have been better. My feet have never ached so or my heart swelled as they did in Berlin. The history of the place is simply jaw dropping. As you stumble across each chapter words fail you. You just have to stand and stare. The glory and the beauty. It all comes home courtesy of a super efficient transport system and some very friendly locals.
We soaked it all in. The power of a wall of concrete, the division within. The streets littered with the beauty of architectural heroes. The way 21st century Germany deals with the horrors of their past. There was something so humbling about Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial – the moment your body encountered the 2711 concrete blocks your thoughts were directed to a different plane as your feet found their way through the maze of memory. To be moved to silence in a city as busy as Berlin is something I’ll not forget. And Gunter Demnig’s occasional gold bricks set in the pavement, recalling the names of those deported to their deaths in the Nazi concentration camps were works of contemplative genius. Recalling a world so removed from ours with grace and immense power.
Oh the power of Berlin. The skyline insisted upon my attention the moment I arrived. 18th Century wonders nestling beside post WWII masterpieces. Your mind can envision the gaps left by Harris’ bombers and then be blown away by the thoughts and inspiration of those who filled them and you have to marvel at the visions that built Berlin’s future. East and West. The stories who those who dared to deliver a unified Germany had me spell bound, those who resisted their oppressors, what ever uniform, had me spell bound. Over and over.
Yes Berlin had me hooked. Gay boys in their leather, bears and their welcome, goulash and its warmth, Queenie and her photo opportunities, the architectural surprises that await you on every block, Barbor the dog and his webbed feet, Bratwurst on a windy day, the Bauhaus and their genius, our love affair with Mr Ampelmännchen, Berliners and their survival. Each wowed me, each insisted on my attention and each have ensured I’ll return soon. Berlin you beauty!