I hated Berlin when I first arrived; it seemed so bleak and dark – in a physical + aesthetic + also a metaphysical + spiritual sense. I had such a great time in Paris, Bruges and [of course] Amsterdam > so when I bussed into Berlin and looked around for the first day or so, I just felt heavy – but I didn’t really know why. > Then I found a few clubs, dark alleys, cool stores, gorgeous buildings, interesting characters + – most importantly – went on a couple of historical bike tours looking Hitler, and also the Berlin wall stuff. This blew my mind + I started to see Berlin in a completely different light. In fact, I fell in love with it!
Over the next week, I began to realise that I was correct to feel a sense of gloom – a lot of shit went down in this city, a lot of shit. Wow. These people had a legacy of latent heaviness and sadness and despair that – coming from Perth in Australia – I couldn’t really fathom. My hometown was barely even 150 years old. It dawned on me that these people were actually doing well – considering!
I started to see robust pockets of light, life + spirit in the darkest spaces of this old city + met people that were moving on + up, forging a brave new world for themselves + their country. I felt a sense of respect + awe for a city rebuilding itself after such abhorrent acts + times.
There’s some pretty graphic photos of the holocaust [warning] taken at the Holocaust Museum. You can also see the monument to the Holocaust [the grey blocks image > info here] which is such a perfect artwork. An amazing experience. Still unbelievable that this happened, and crazy that the 1936 summer olympics were held in Berlin, despite the alarm bells + advice to boycott it due to Hitler… and just a few years later, WWII and the Holocaust happened. I knew a gay guy that – when he was having a crisis [he was always having a crisis of some type] – he would watch Schindler’s List > and feel better. Sometimes I think of Berlin when people at work are nasty to me, or my car breaks down, etc. Nice one Berlin, can’t wait to see you again [and take some better photos, ha].
[Update]: so i added some pics from my second trip to Berlin in 2017, when i went on my honeymoon – they’re towards the top. i still loved Berlin but was shocked at how gentrified all the areas that i used to love had become – we even stayed in Kreuzberg + even that was almost wiped out. The anti-gentrification photos you can see below are mainly from Neuköln, a fringe suburb + one of the last to go. i am glad i got to see Berlin in 2007, just 19 years after the wall fell. What a difference 10 years made between my visits. We also went to Tempelhof, the old airport – it was great + it was right when Angela Merkel had installed a shizerload of bunk beds in the main hanger for the influx of refugees.
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