We spent the weekend in the capital of Germany. Berlin. Wonderful. I have to say that we wandered round Friedrichstrasse and the rest of the beautiful streets with our jaws very much in ‘dropped mode’.
Berlin is amazing. The centre is quite small so you can catch all the sites in a day or two without breaking into a sweat. Obviously, if you want to see more than a larger slice of time is needed, but I must say that it’s the perfect place for a weekend of idle wandering and gawping. What impressed me most (we were lucky to catch the Berlin Festival of Light) was the architecture. Steel & glass meets gloriously big, great, monumental edifices. The “Dem Deutchen Volke” sent shivers down my spine as did the horses and chariots on the Brandenburg Gate, but the addition of the steel & glass dome within the Reichstag adds a certain ‘nouveau European’ quality to it and the red glow on the Brandenburg Gate seemed more suited to Fireworks Night than other dark things I could mention.
I don’t think one can understand modernity in architecture without first travelling to Berlin. It puts both London and (especially) Warsaw to shame, although both these cities have their fair share of je ne sais quoi about them. Come to think of it, so does Derby and Łódź, but now’s not the time for describing any of those four cities. I was most pleased that I was able to be understood in my pidgin German and that I could understand the residents of Berlin. Very proud of myself, I was.
But the most interesting part of our trip was considering Berlin united, unified after being divided for so long. I found Checkpoint Charlie a moving experience. All in all thinking about Der Mauer was not easy. How ON EARTH did we ever get to a situation where we managed to divide a city. We Europeans. How civilised. It’s about time more is said about the war and more is done to highlight the horrors of European civilisation. We still have SO much to learn.