Berlin’s for the culture vulture
Hey everyone, as a first of a new series of guest posts on TheNicologue, I invited a friend to share her travel experience from her recent trip to Berlin, Germany. Trishann and I first met in college while pursuing a Mass Media degree. She went on to work as a content contributor and editor for magazines as well as corporates. She was one of those people who was always reading a novel or biography, and who loved literature. Other than that, she’s a compulsive tea drinker, obsessive book hoarder, serial snacker, determined dreamer, and an unapologetic feminist—in no particular order. Find her interesting? Follow her on Instagram or connect with her on Facebook.
Read on to find out what she has to say about Berlin…
It is an intimate feeling being acquainted with a country through its art―music, movies, food, history and culture; it leaves you with a sense of familiarity. My introduction to Germany came through studying its fascinating history in school; Albert Einstein; through its mention in popular culture―The Book Thief, Inglorious Basterds; its burgeoning art scene; Museum Island; David Bowie’s Heroes and U2’s One.
I made my first trip to Germany this year. I was to be covering Berlin―Europe’s avant-garde cultural mecca. I landed in the city on a sunny but freezing morning, checked into my hostel, threw on a jacket, picked up a map and dashed out the door. I had four days to immerse myself in the city’s chequered, tangible history as well its fascinating, modern present and I didn’t want to waste any time.
The East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is an outdoor art museum. What can you expect on your visit? You will see a 1,316 meter long wall (a remnant of the original Berlin Wall) plastered with gorgeous, symbolic, meaningful murals by painters and artists from across the world. The art holds an important place in Berlin’s history and represents change, freedom, hope, and struggle.
Delectable local and international food
While Germany may not be revered for its cuisine or its easily palatable dishes (I’m talking about Pretzels), there are some things you ought to try. There is the German Spaetzle, an egg noodle, and the Berliner, a special German doughnut. Berlin also offers its visitors the opportunity to indulge in varieties of global cuisines. I tried Turkish bread garnished with minced beef for the first time, vegan sandwiches and tea and irresistibly good Asian food, which is respite when you begin to miss home.
Graffiti at every turn
Berlin’s art scene is not limited to the Berlin Wall or its multitude of museums; while exploring the city and its outskirts, I noticed art everywhere. From along the train lines to houses and buildings, Berlin’s facades are covered in political, comedic, abstract and random graffiti.
A historical odyssey
One of the reasons I was drawn to Berlin was because of its history, which continues to shape the city even today. There is the Berlin Wall that is symbolic of a time of tremendous sorrow but which is presently the world’s most popular open-air gallery; Hitler’s Bunker, atop of which today stands multi-storied residential apartments; Checkpoint Charlie that stands at the confluence of business towers, fast food joints and fashion boutiques; the Book Burning Square which is an antithesis to what Berlin stands for today—creative freedom and a certain joie de vivre.
Berlin’s textured past is not lost in its cosmopolitan culture but blends mellifluously with its present.