Berlin has lots of positives and lots of negatives, but it’s a place I think takes a little time to work out. We’ve only been here 2 days but my observations for that short time are;
- The Berliners are fun people, particularly the young ones, they are polite and smile a lot, the ones over say 50, are mostly ok but some of them have a sour disposition and look at you like you’re something to stepped on, and accordingly will do every thing to avoid eye contact and serving you, particularly of you’re a tourist.
- Berlin is a series of communities, it takes a bit of getting used to, it’s not like Rome or Paris or Venice where it’s all obvious and close in the centre. At first it can look just like a large building site, which a lot of it is, but there are lots of havens and fun spots mixed into the other spots.
- There isn’t a lot of traffic, it’s away less busy than Sydney and way better organised.
- Public transport is terrific, the U Bahn system is great and I think the S Bahn ( trams) are as well, but we have really got them sorted 100% yet.
- The shopping centres are big and fantastic but at first hard to find.
- It’s all super modern, even in the old East Berlin, and there is still a massive amount of development going on.
- The Wall which divided West Berlin from East Berlin and the West was an island in the middle of the Soviet dominated East. The Wall still pervades life in Berlin and there are still lots of it still standing but now protected from souvenir hunters. The areas where it isn’t standing is a line of 2 pavers running right around the city.
I think I’d like to come back and spend a bit more time here, there are masses of museums that I won’t get to see, there are masses of shops Genelle won’t have had a chance to hit.
Today we gave the knees and feet a rest, and did the Ho On Hop Off Bus and really got the feel of the city. The Wall murals, in the Eastside Gallery on the old Wall are spectacular. We went shopping at KaDeWa, and had coffee and quiche on the 6th floor where there is the most fantastic food hall.
A walk down the hill from our hotel to check the area out and then a pizza nad beer at the hotel.
Tomorrow we’re heading out of the city to Sacchenhausen, the first and closest concentration camp to Berlin.
Ciao from Berlin