I went to Berlin for the first time in 2003, not knowing much more about it than the Wall and the Fernsehturm, and I fell in love with the city within 20 minutes of leaving the airport. I went again in 2007 and then continued my torrid affair this weekend. Russ accompanied me and I am happy to say he was wowed and seduced in much the same way I was; Berlin has continued to impress.
Honestly, it's got to be the coolest city in the world right now. It just has everything right - the vibe, the style, the people, the pace, the architecture (the criminal demolition of the Palast der Republik notwithstanding), the cost and (not insignificantly) the boys. I used to say Madrid's the hottest, but Berlin's the sexiest, but I am not so sure any more. I go back to the Spanish capital in three weeks, so I'll reevaluate that maxim then. The city's all about enjoying and being yourself. Berlin air breaths free.
I could go on and on, but I have before, so won't again. It's sufficient to say I had a great weekend and I will not be letting two more years lapse before my next tryst. I love my London life, but I am very comforted in knowing I have such a splendid mistress so close.
Some pics attached below, full set at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=166647&id=713081334&l=215a52a345
My favourite spot on Earth, Alexanderplatz, the old commercial centre of East Berlin
Fernsehturm from Alexanderplatz
How Berlin was divided
The Weltzeituhr (World Clock)
East Berlin flats and the Rotes Rathaus, Berlin's city hall.
Central East Berlin
The Berlinerdom and the vacant lot that was once the impressive Palast der Republik, shamefully demolished to make way to rebuild a faux Prussian palace. (This isn't Disneyland, it's Berlin, epicentre of the Cold War.
The street in front of Brandenburg Gate. The bricks in the road show where the Wall used to run (they do this for the entire length of the Wall).
The Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate
The Holocaust Memorial. From Wikipedia, the blocks "are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason".
A map showing where the wall ran
The longest bit of wall remaining in the centre
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, damaged in bombing in WWII, left in ruins as a memorial
Miss Piggy at Barbie Bar
Shaun H. Coley
Shadwell, Tower Hamlets
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