Recent events in my life have taught me a number of lessons; one of which is that in my quest for happiness, I need to do what I want, when I want. So, first on my list was to travel to Berlin with a girlfriend for a long weekend. I had never been to Germany before but throughout the years have been told by many friends that Berlin would be right up my street. After two years of travelling around Australia and sleeping on floors and sofas, and in hostel rooms with a number of strangers, we decided luxury was the way forward and stayed in a fancy hotel (with breakfast included!) in Kreuzberg, a district known for its Turkish community and amazing falafels. I love travelling and fully immersing myself into the culture and cuisine of the country I am visiting. I had been told that I must try the Currywurst, a sliced pork sausage topped with ketchup combined with curry powder… As a lover of ketchup and spicy things, this sounded like a winning combination but it’s safe to say it had a very acquired taste!
In my knowledge, Berlin is famous for a variety of things; its history, the Berlin Wall, its techno and electro clubs, and its art scene. Of course, we learnt about Germany’s poignant history, the war, and the holocaust at school… But school was out for summer many years ago and we felt it necessary to adopt the tourist state of mind and visit museums, landmarks and holocaust memorials to refresh our memories. Hundreds of horrifying facts, stories, and images later, we wanted to lighten the mood. Finding Prosecco priced at €5 helped… We were on holiday, after all.
It had been recommended that we go on an Alternative Walking Tour for an unconventional journey around the city, and this turned out to be the highlight of my trip. As an artist, I draw inspiration from creative cultures and communities, and have a particular interest in street art. Our tour was led by Alana, an Irish artist living in Berlin. She spoke with passion and knowledge about the local community and promised us that she would not leave until we were satisfied with everything we had seen and heard. It was a beautiful, sunny day to be enjoying the stories on the backstreets of Berlin. We saw some fascinating street art, and were given an interesting insight into the techniques behind it. Now I know what a heaven spot is, I can use it as a comeback for dodgy chat-up lines! The tour finished up around the corner from the East Side Gallery in the Friedrichshain district. The East Side Gallery is the largest open air gallery in the world (and the longest segment of the Berlin Wall that is still standing) serving as a memorial for freedom. Unfortunately, most of the walls have been graffitied over, but the beauty and politics of the artworks still manage to dominate the atmosphere.
Check out http://alternativeberlin.com if you’re a creative soul and planning a trip to Berlin.