Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Berlin Love: Part I

To tell you the truth, I didn't have very high expectations from Berlin. After all, I was coming here after visiting London, Paris and Switzerland. Sure, Berlin's nightlife was legendary but that's not really my scene. So, I came to Berlin ready to be underwhelmed.

I am happy to report that I was monumentally wrong. In fact, Berlin may even edge out London and Paris. My first night here I went to the East End Galleries to view paintings on the remnants of the Berlin Wall. In many ways, this experience summed up Berlin for me: it is historical, beautiful, terrible, open, seedy, artistic and downright bizarre. Berlin has the one thing that is becoming increasingly rare in a McDonalds dominated world: atmosphere. And lots of it. 

There is graffiti everywhere in Berlin. This in large contributes to its artsy, dingy feel, I think. Sometimes its obvious that the person who has sprayed it is a drunk fool, sometimes its so moving you wonder if the Dalai Lama was wandering the streets of Berlin. Berlin also has bars everywhere: in tumbling old buildings, subway stations, museums, you name a flat surface and they have a bar there. I love it!

If you want to see more fabulous Berlin street art, visit http://berlinstreetart.blog.de/

I did walking tours, visited the Holocaust Memorial and various museums (which I shall talk about it in a different post). The one thing that struck me about Germans was how wonderfully honest they were. There was no covering up or dilution of the country's terrible past. They didn't pin the blame for past state crimes on someone else or blame it on media propaganda (which believe you me would have been the case in India). They were honest, contrite, apologetic, cautious and in my books that is the only way to move forward. 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe


Berlin also has some incredible street food. Here's a list of my top 3 places:

a) Mustafa : I adore this place. Their Gemuse kababs are tasty, filling and easy on the wallet. Meatlovers must try their donor kebabs. 

It tastes fabulous

Brave the long queues at Mustafa

b) Burgerweister: I have never been a huge fan of burgers but theirs made me a convert : Huge, juicy and with an explosion of flavours. Vegetarians need not despair. They have a pretty good veggie burger with an interesting mango sauce. 

c) Curry 36: Famed for its Berliner Currywurster, this place is perenially plagued with long queues. There was too much ketchup in it for me to really enjoy the dish but it is something you must try when you are here. 


A ditty said...

Love this post. Couldn't agree more - Berlin is sexxxxxxy. And currywurst isn't for me either. :)

Shruti said...

@A ditty: Thanks! Did you try the fried-cheese dish in Berlin? Kaissewaisel (or something like that). It was soo good.

scott davidson said...

I pondered to myself recently what were the most important things in my life. The answer seems to be clear that art was up there in importance. Why? Frankly, I don't really know. May be someone here can enlighten me?
As was my wont w
hen I have some free time, I browsed the marvelous site, wahooart.com, where they keep thousands of digital images for customers to select to have printed into handsome canvas prints for their homes.
This image jumped out to jolt my reveries: Still life with bread, by the Cubist Georges Braque. Is art like this picture, as essential as bread and water, or should I say bread and wine?

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