I’ll tell you what – I didn’t see enough of Germany to fulfill my “wanderlust” (which is a hip trendy word I ripped off buzzfeed/Twitter/lame Facebook articles as mentioned in my very insightful reflective *ha* first post). I got to see Berlin, and I’m pretty nervous to attempt to describe Berlin because I feel like I barely saw the surface of Berlin. It was a strange experience to go to the most touristy spots and then the next day be transported to the grungey-hipster Kreuzberg and shown around to the most local spots by locals. And then I got to cap it off by being shown around by my Belgian friend who went to law school in Berlin and there was a whole other side I wasn’t expecting. So describing all these sides is going to be difficult, but I suppose I better give it a go.
Berlin has everything. Berlin has cheap delicious food from everywhere. I’ve been to Morocco and I have to say the Moroccan food they do right (probably due to all the Moroccan immigrants) so you’ll never go wrong with anything falafel. With such a huge immigrant population, they have Italian and Indian and everything done right and done cheap. It’s wonderful. And with immigration issues, we got to attend an event for refugees where some of the kids performed and others showcased their art and most just hung out. If Berlin has anything, it has variety and it has culture.
We were also shown the grungey-hipster Berlin by people our age who were involved in street college where they got to rap and write poetry and concentrate on their music because it’s what they love to do. They showed us the history of the “grunge” around us, behind the graffiti and the parks and the people. The founder of the street college even took us to a juvenile facility in Berlin where we got to compare the differences to the criminal justice system in America. It mostly made me wonder what we weren’t shown and didn’t see and what we’d hide from them if they came to our facilities. There’s systemic injustice everywhere.
What I nerdily loved about Berlin was the history of Germany. There are government buildings and opera houses from the 1300s and such, so as an American with history that doesn’t date back so far in comparison I was in awe. It was crazy to think how many times the city was destroyed by war and rebuilt to stand as a world power over and over again. One of my favorite sites was a cathedral that was bombed in the 2nd World War and left that way in remembrance of what the city and country has gone through, especially illuminated at night it’ll just take your breath away. The Prussian palaces are amazing too, and my favorite part is the gardens. It’s wild to imagine the royal families strolling through the perfectly polished marble halls and pruned gardens. It’s worth the few euros for the entrance fees – trust me.