Thursday, May 26, 2011

Berlin Wall East Side Gallery

One of the highlights of my recent visit to Berlin was the fascinating East Side Gallery on the Berlin Wall.  Rather than enter into lengthy discussion on visual art and history I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  Each mural tells a thousand words.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Observations in Berlin

 I headed to Berlin for a first look at the German capital back in February and for some reason have still not managed to do a Berlin blog!  There is heaps to write about the city, but as my visit was short and sweet and now fading into memory and filed away photos, I thought I would be as true to my initial thoughts as possible.  Straight from my notebook here are some very quick observational jottings I made in -of- Berlin!  Mental notes thrown down as a fleeting first impression. 

City space is wide, spread out, lacking a social clustering or hub.
Very little to add colour to this city in winter.

Very clean city with minimal litter.  There is a lot of graffiti along metro lines, some good, some bad. 

Alexanderplatz square-the city centre- is massively expansive, a little grey,  mixed architecture serves as a stark reminder of war, while techy type structure such as the world clock and other modern installations point to a forward-looking, progressive nation.

The famous Berlin television tower is better viewed from a distance as part of the city scape.  A trip up will give you a great view of the city, but it is over-priced and under-rewarding as you struggle to peer out over the shoulders of throngs of tourists.  Skip. 

The Brandenburg gate is impressive and its history, which you can read at information points near to the gate, is very interesting. 

The East Side Gallery on the Berlin Wall makes a fascinating walk.  We visited on a week day and it was refreshingly not thronged with visitors, just a couple of people checking out the murals.  It only had one tiny little souvenier shop so the whole tourist experience was, surprisingly, not spoiled by, well, tourism.  

Generally very helpful locals.

Metro system is excellent.

You will see locals opening can of beer on the metro home from work on Fridays.

Nightlife is brilliant, with lots of really good bars and some huge mega clubs, particularly for lovers of dance music.  Good bars can be found throughout the city's many districts, but they are spread out nestled within otherwise quiet streets. The same can be said for restaurants.  There doesn't seem to be any definitive nightlife destination zones, streets or areas.  You can wander about to find somewhere, but window shopping as such can be a little frustrating when it feels that few are far between. 

Recommendations and a little research go a long way in this spread out city. 

Some nightclubs open for the entire weekend so this is a serious destination for clubbers and should not be missed!

Live-music in many bars for those not into nightclubs. 

Asian and Italian cuisine is very popular. 

 Streets are very quiet in the evenings, however the city feels relatively safe, even late.

There is good shopping with lots of big high street shopping centres, as well as a  more underground, but thriving vintage sector.   
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