Berlin: You had me at Hallo!

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History was my favorite subject in school, growing up.  And, of course, the 2 world wars were a big chunk of it.  Apart from that, the only other thing that sticks out is their October Fest.  Of course, I’m aware that the Germans has long since moved on from their dark world-war days.  And as much as their role in the wars were despised by many, I can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like for them themselves in shedding their nation’s past.  This is the reason why we were very conscious of staying as far away as possible from war-related sites and museums whilst there.  As it turns out, it was a breeze!

Berlin wasn’t even in the original itinerary.  It was slotted in at the last minute due to visa and administration blunders that forced us to skip London.  What we found was a rich street culture, iconic street arts, and of course, extremely delicious wursts.  The city felt like a long lost playground.

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The street ambassador for Berlin would have to be the Amplemann.  Amplemann is the name of traffic light symbols for pedestrian crossings.  Created in 1961, its main purpose was to create signs that are attractive enough for pedestrians to pay attention to.  Now, it has grown to what identifies Berlin streets.  It is so loved by the public that Amplemann merchandise stores, and cafes are found, paying homage.

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Then there was of course the Berlin wall.  The East Berlin wall has, over the years, become a gallery for street artists.  On the day we visited it, we horrifically found that a city plan has been made to knock of portions of the wall to enable housing estates behind it to have ‘a street view’.  What???  The area was crowded with locals either joining the protest, or taking in the beauty of the wall before its torn down.  We were interviewed by a journalist who got wide-eyed, hearing that we were in Berlin for 3 days, and one of the reasons for our trip was to see this wall.  I doubt that our testimony played any part in stopping anything.  But, it felt uplifting, knowing that we played a part.

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We also visited the Berlin Zoo.  I haven’t been to a zoo since I was, maybe 8 yrs old.  So I had a big kick out of visiting the Zoo.  3rd biggest zoo in the world was no joke.  The size of it was impressive, and exhausting.  The other downside is, being at the end of winter, we missed out seeing a lot of animals in their natural element.  But, we did see the polar bear!

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Berlin is a place I would come back to, over and over again.  There’s an obvious feeling that 3 days visit wasn’t at all fair to the city of Berlin.  There is so much more to see, a lot more curry wursts to eat, that slapping our foreheads for only giving it 3 days, just won’t do.  Berlin, you are simply awesome.

 

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