Brrr-lin

Did you know that Germany turns their clocks back a week earlier than the US? So we gained an hour there, and then will gain another hour when the US turns back the clocks as well. Sweet deal.

We finally get a chance to visit the German capital for a full day. With how much higher up Germany is geographically located, and the clocks falling back an hour, daylight now lasts from about 7am to 4:30pm. So good planning would be to try and maximize your daylight hours, especially as you’re running around visiting things right? Nah. We gave ourselves an 8:30am start.

The first item on the list was a landmark relatively close to where we were staying, the East Side Gallery. Part history, part art, this is a stretch of the Berlin wall (left intact along the perimeter where it once stood), that has been allowed to become art pieces by various artists across the world. One of the more famous paintings from this section is “the kiss” as its commonly called, between Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker, as photographed in Oct 7, 1979 when Brezhnev visited East Germany to celebrate its founding as a Communist nation.

But as its name states, the East Side Gallery stretches for a ways, with varying images depicting various symbolic messages ranging from relevant topics during the era of East and West Germany to wider global topics. It’s worth the 30 minute stroll if you’ve the time.

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We then proceeded to make our own chocolate at Ritter Sport, which was pretty neat as you get to choose 3 ingredients to put into a milk or dark chocolate bar. And it’s a pretty simple process, where they take liquid chocolate, mix in your ingredients, then chill it for 30 or so minutes and its ready. We took a quick detour over to Gendarmenmarkt while waiting for choco to be ready, and started up some PoGo (Halloween event). I couldn’t play because of the rooted/unlocked issue. Wah. Oh well.

After choco pickup, we headed over the main attraction in the Brandenburg Gate. And then to the abstract Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe just down the street from it. I feel like people often forget the fact that they’re at a memorial when they’re engaging in running and jumping all over the giant slabs of concrete. There’s sometimes just so much noise and laughter filling the aisles where you might forget you’re even at a design meant to remember those who lost their lives in one of the largest genocides in history (6 million Jews). But who am I to tell people how to behave here.

Hitler’s parking lot (former bunker), Finance Ministry Building (former HQ of Nazi Luftwaffe/filmed in Valkyrie), and Topography of Terror, a Photoautomat, and Checkpoint Charlie. Curry 36 for lunch, Kaiser Wilhem church, then over to shopping. Or rather, they ran off (sensing another recurring theme?) and I wandered a bit, got rained on, and settled in a pub for a bit. Tbf, this was mentioned as something on the list prior to the trip, so alright. But does the area really need 3 different H&Ms in close proximity to each other? lol.

Or last night here, and I think the 3 of us have had one sit down meal together. And 2 others before joining up with the other friend. So that wasn’t big on the menu (get it?). And doner just became the last meal, taken to go, eaten somewhat cold after walking away from the place.

Again, I’m headed out on my own at night because catching up on TV shows while you’re traveling halfway across the world is a better idea than taking in sights and sounds of where you’re at. This time, I head to Nikolaiviertel, or the Nicholas quarter, where the great historic city of Berlin originated. It’s now a small enclosure with only pedestrian access and cobblestone roads, which really makes it seem like a little town within the city given how different it is to its surroundings.

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Nikolai church with Rotes Rathaus and TV tower in bg

Last visit of the night was to Oberbaumbrucke, or a nice looking bridge also close to the hostel connecting Fredrichshain in the east and Kreuzberg in the west. It used to be a border crossing point back when Germany and Berlin were separated. Now it’s just a connecting juncture for the combined area of Fredrichshain-Kreuzberg.

 

I head back after about 2 hrs and shower, and apparently the 45 minute TV show still isn’t over, with 20 minutes to go. I joking ask, should I step out for the remainder (since I still want to watch/not get spoiled), and the friend’s friend gives a very terse”yes.” The friend says it’s fine and that she’ll finish it up at home. What a frosty end to the night (even though temps were only in the 40s tonight, compared to 30s last night haha).

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