Recently, as you know, I have been touring Europe. Whenever I travel there are a few traits that become inexplicably clear to me almost instantly as you arrive to a new location- people's manner, the culture in the air, usually born of people's manner, and the pride the people have in their culture and history. Throughout the past 3 weeks I've travelled to 9 countries, many amazed me and some I could see myself living in but no other city made such a significant impression on my heart than Germany and particularly the city of Berlin. This is the city you don't want to miss.
Berlin was amazing. The city is old yet it's most influential history ridiculously young. Germany is a nation categorised by an ugly war history when it should be identified as a nation full of some of the most resilient people the world.
Five minutes of a tour here is all you need to come to understand the elasticity of the hearts of the Germans after human travesty, dictatorship, atrocity and physical boundaries attempted to break the beauty of true human spirit. Of approximately 15 countries I have travelled to so far, each with their own fights, I cannot surpass being truly impressed by the Germans. To me this relatively young country has much to be proud of and the world could do with taking notice at how they turned life around.
The Berlin Wall, still standing in sections, demonstrates how divided the country was. It is mind boggling to comprehend that overnight family and friends became divided strangers for 28years trapped in a 'country' that separated them from those they loved. The Wall is decorated with art now and one famous piece whereby the east and west leaders are kissing and making up. Many wouldn't necessarily know however that it was the efforts of the average person that really forced the Berlin Wall down. It is a pleasure that parts of this wall exist to remember a life the Germans will never have to return to. However I find it also extremely beautiful and perfect poetic justice that Adolf Hitler is not glorified at all in this city.
The lack of glorification to Adolf Hitler is such a joy because it shows so fervently how Germans felt about this power tripping maniac. The shame is that many who don't travel here will not understand this unless it is written about. In a walking tour about Berlin you are taken to a carpark and are told that you are standing on top of Hitler's bunker. Many tourists I was travelling with were excited to see the 'spot' where he ended his rule but the Gemans didn't give Hitler the notoriety, not even in death. It is a perfect ending to an ugly story. Had it been 2015 I wonder if our media would have done the same. Either way I found it extremely impressive that the Germans virtually erased him, well what you could, given the horrible, countless crimes he and the SS (secret service) committed.
Other extremely impressive parts of Berlin is the artwork, hipster cafés and restaurants and various musicians that play for your amusement in the u-bahn (underground and overground stations). Of course the people here are very lovely. It's the only city in Europe I've managed to have a fun snowball fight with randoms, been offered a toboggan ride from a grandfather or held random conversations with local people for a lengthy time.
Overall Germany to me, in my short glimpse, is simply impressive. I am deeply saddened by the horrendous loss and tragedy the Germans have faced but I am also in awe of how resilient, kind hearted and exceptional the people are. It will always be a city I will be happy to return to and travellers should never take it off their bucket list.
The Holocaust Memorial- creative in design & always thoughtful. Keeping in mind the heartbreak caused by a loss of 6 million Jews at the hands of an atrocious man.
Kreuzberg- whilst I visited here in the winter, the buildings were still amazing, artwork Devine, cafés & restaurants so craftily created- simply beautiful area of the city with a superb local feel- as the tourists don't flock here! I don't know why!
Remnants of the Berlin Wall that divided loved ones for 28years- overcome by pure human spirit in the end. Brilliant.