Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Just Dickin' Around in Berlin

Berlin, Germany. To be honest, Germany isn't a country that is high on our travel list but Berlin happens to be exactly 3 hours away from Wroclaw so it made for a perfect weekend getaway. We did some research and decided on the things that were important for us to see during our 2 days there. The good thing about Berlin - it's super easy to walk. And while we didn't take it - looked like they have good public transportation.

When deciding where to stay - we opted for the trendy Mitte area. There they have lots of trendy restaurants and art galleries and happens to be close to the sights we wanted to see. So Saturday we hit the pavement for a little tour.

First up, Brandenburg Gate.

We did a little walk through the park behind - joining a festival they had going on. The park has neat things to check out and one stop we made was to the Soviet War Memorial.
From there, we hit the Memorial for Murdered Jews of Europe. The memorial is an interactive outdoor exhibit. My interpretation is they are coffins, making you feel lost and confused, not knowing what or who is around the corner.
After the memorial - we headed to Checkpoint Charlie. This is the most famous checkpoint during the era of East and West Berlin. They have pieces of the wall, photos and historical facts to read up on your history. They also still maintain the stand in the middle of the street. While the history is cool to preserve, the checkpoint feels more like a tourist attraction than a reflection of history.

So when traveling, Chris and I feel it's important to get away from the main attractions and find the hidden gems. One cool fact about Berlin is they have the largest Turkish population outside of Turkey. In Berlin, there is a Turkish neighborhood called Kruezberg. It definitely has it's own thing going on. Residential with lots of cool street art.
Street art is something you will find all over Berlin. It is neat to see the city express itself in this way. While Berlin isn't a particularly pretty city - the art gives it such great character. Hence, where the name of this blog post came from.

Anyway - if you happen to find yourself Kruezberg, be sure to check out Mustfa's - they are supposed to have the best kebab in town. Be prepared to wait awhile though.
Chris and I waited for awhile but since it was cold - we weren't in the mood to wait so hit up Curry 36. Not worth it. We like the currywurst in Dresden way better.
After a little bite to eat, we continued our journey toward Gendarmenmarkt. This is large city square in Berlin. While you can tour the building, we opted to continue on to Museum Island.
 Here is where they have a few different museum's including the Berlin Cathedral.
Just behind Museum Island is Alexanderplatz Square. We didn't walk over but you can see the sky tower from many point within the city and on Sunday on the way to the East Side Gallery - we drove past it.

We enjoyed our evening exploring different places to eat and drink - as well as parks to sit and enjoy the night.

It was a long eventful day. Our opinion of the city - it is a dirty, Soviet style Washington, D.C. I don't know we'd recommend it to anyway but if you have an interest in going - it's always worth forming your own opinion of a place. One aspect we loved though truly was the street art. Seemed like every corner - someone had something to express. While we don't like pointless graffiti - when it is artistic and a statement - it is neat. PS If you haven't been to Poland, a lot of Berlin looks very similar to parts of Poland.

On Sunday, we hit up the East Side Gallery - you can see our post on that here: Berlin Wall Circa 2014.

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