May 23, 2012 GMT
An uncrowded capital

How do I describe Berlin? well it has the vibrancy of London, but not the crowds, or maybe it does have the crowds but the pavements are so much wider to accomodate them. It is a wonderful place and I am so glad I went for a good walk around.

I stated by getting up early after a really good nights sleep. Christopher from the hostel had reccomended I go on a the free city tour that started at the Brandenburg Gate. So I thought I would head tha way. I got an Underground ticket and got really lost/confused at how the whole system works. Eventually I ended up at Potsdamer Platz and started my tourist jaunt. Past the killing fields that were behind the wall, Hitlers Bunker (the site of) and then I was confronted by the holocaust memorial, The field of Stelae.

Field of Stelae 1.jpg
The Feild of Stelae

It was a bit early in the day, but it was something I was really wanting to see. It is so simple, a masive area of Stelae, one after another, smooth on hte side and rough on the top. they are small around the sides, no higher than your foot,,each one is different, maybe a little higher, or shorter, but as you walk into the monument the Stelae become higher eventually 20 foot or so, and your are consumed and lost. I found the whole experience overwhelming and am not afraid to say I was filling up, the whole thing made so much sense on so many levels.

Field of Stelea 2.jpg
Into the fields...

The Brandenburg gate...

So after that, it was on to the Brandenburg gate which was fantatic, I fed some Sparrows from my hand, the Riechstag and memorial to those shot trying to jump the wall. Darth Vader, Lord of Sith was also visiting and had packed his extra heavy duty boots for the city tour.

brandyburg vader.jpg
No good being a Lord of Sith if your feet ache...

berlin sparrow.jpg
I had the birds eating out of my hand...

I walked sown Unter de Linden. It appeared to be missing a lot of the Lindens, saying that they had planted quite a lot of new ones, so I would call it Unter/Ober de Linden at the moment.

I looked around Hackescher Market which was very chic and then up to Alexander Platz which was the East Berlin showpeice Platz. Everything was great apart from a lack of toilets. How do Berliners hold it in so long? There just arn't any public lavies that I cound see and they certainly wern't signposted! I drank coffee in a little cafe on the Platz and watched the world go by.....

berlin sexy soilders.jpg
Who said Germans didn't have a sense of humour?

On the underground again and I found my way to checkpoint charlie. It was full of bus loads of Americans and was rather like Leicester Square in London. I sat down with a Currywirst (curried sausage) a bottle of Berliner Beer at a little table on the street and ate. This was great.

berlin wall.jpg
Some of the last bits of the wall...

I had decided not ot go on the tour as I saw that each tour numbered at least 30 odd people and I'm not one for big crowds. Instead I looked around the musem of horrors, all about the SS. cheery stuff. Legs were falling off at this point so I wanted back. I need supplies for my big day through Germany, Czech and Slovakia tommorrow.

So Berlin, Wish I could stay but the Balkans are calling

Posted by David Bailey at May 23, 2012 03:27 PM GMT

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