Monday, 13 February 2012

Weekend in Berlin!

Hello! (WARNING: mega-long post, sorry)
I finally arrived home in Manchester from Berlin at 8.30pm (we were supposed to arrive at 11am, but I'll explain all that). The weekend was amazing, Berlin is truly a beautiful city, covered in art and culture. It is (apparently) a similar size to Paris but with about a third of the population, so it seems almost empty of people, there isn't the sense of stress you can get with other big cities because there aren't really many crowds. At this time of year it is freezing, literally -7 degrees during the day, so any 'fashion' went straight out of the window.

The journey down was awful, due to horrible weather down South, but the ferry crossing was calm and I bought a few goodies on the ferry (another post coming). The company organising our trip severely underestimated the time it takes to get from Manchester to Berlin; their estimate was 17 hours, when it really took about 23, so we missed out on an entire day in the city. However, on Friday evening we went out as a group for a meal.

The snow; Courgette stuff with cheese, and a tomato sauce. Pretty sure there was a bit of risotto in there too

On the Saturday we had a walking tour of the city, and saw some of the city's favourite landmarksthe Brandenberg Gate, the Reichstag Building, some Second World War Memorials for the murdered homosexuals and the murdered Jews of Europe and some remains of the Berlin Wall. The Memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe was designed by Peter Eisenman and is made of 2,711 concrete blocks. The number of blocks has no significance, allowing each person to draw their own conclusions. It was haunting to say the least.

The Memorial for the murdered Homosexuals which plays a video of gay couples in Berlin; the Memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe, which also has a museum.

Remains of the Berlin Wall; Checkpoint Charlie

There was so much to see; one of the highlights of the weekend for me was Tacheles. Tacheles is a squat that was taken over by artists and is covered in graffiti. Some artists were exhibitioning their art work, which was amazing.

In the evening, Lydia and I went to see a film at the festival. It was a documentary called Soldier/Citizen, which was about a programme that exists in Israel where soldiers who have completed their National Service can complete their High School Diploma. There was a Q&A session with the director, which was a bit lame as she didn't really answer any questions.

On the second day, we had the entire day to ourselves. We went to see the East Side Gallery, which is parts of the Berlin Wall which have been painted, and to a flea market.

                     One section of the East Side Gallery; A stall dedicated to clocks at the flea market 

I took a million photos, whilst we were there, and would love to go back again. Soon.

Outside of the Hostel; A mural of Amy Winehouse (RIP)

Outside the shopping centre at Potsdamer Platz; On the ferry home

The journey home was the worst part of the trip; the water pipe burst on the coach home, meaning no lighting or heating so it was -6 degrees all the way through Germany, Holland and Belgium. We had to change coaches after the ferry, which was warm and had working lights!
It took about 28 hours in total to get back to Manchester, but even that couldn't ruin the trip. Berlin is like no other city, it really was a perfect weekend.

Hope you enjoyed reading, congrats if you made it to the end!

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