Ich bin eine Berliner

Ah Berlin…I do love this city. To be honest there isn’t much to tell about our time in Berlin, other than we happily filled the week with eating, drinking and sight-seeing.

We managed to get the vast majority of the sight-seeing out of the way in one day with a six-hour bike ride through the city. It was a gorgeous day for a slow ride through Berlin – which is as flat as a pancake, so the ride was not really taxing.

We saw all the “must-sees” – Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall – and even got a glimpse of some “probably shouldn’t see” when we rode past the nude bathing area in the Tiergarten.

The East Side Gallery – along the Berlin Wall – was also great to wander past. It it the longest open-air gallery in world, and the murals that run it’s length were restored not too long ago. The only disappointment with this was the graffiti that marred the artwork. And it was the most pointless graffiti…”Selena was here”…and that kind of rubbish. But the murals were brilliant, some very political, some just kinda strange

Then there were the Mauerpark Fleamarket, where I’m sure you could buy anything you wanted. Missing a belt? Buy one made out of re-purposed tyres. Don’t have a camera? Get a 1950s vintage camera here. Getting married? No problem. Get your sequined 80s wedding gown here, as long as you don’t mind the rather obvious yellow paint splatter stain on the front (seriously…who would ever buy this?). Equally gorgeous bridesmaid dresses also available. Anything, everything, is here.

The other highlight – for me – was a visit to the Kunsthaus Tacheles. I visited this artist commune/squat for the first time about four years ago and it’s almost just as I remember: grafitti on every available surface, loud hard house music pumping through the whole place, and just a faint whiff of wee. That aside, it’s an awesome spot…budding artists get a place to show their work so you can spend hours wandering in and out of photography, sculpture and painting exhibitions. I saw about 5 in one afternoon.

Unfortunately the whole place is now under threat…while the artists moved in decades ago, they didn’t really both about details such as the fact they didn’t really own it. The land is actually owned by the government, which is gearing up to dismantle the whole thing. Which I think would be an awful thing to do, as this is a space for new art and very different art (along with things that I’m pretty sure do not qualify as art), art that won’t get a space anywhere else.

Other than that it was just lots of sunshine, good German beer and lots of Bratwurst. And not to mention watching the Hawthorn v Collingwood preliminary final in a room full of Aussies…once again with good German beer and more Bratwurst.

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