Wednesday

Secrets of Berlin. Warning - no ordinary points for your bucket list

Sky over Berlin - as blue as a blue sky can be
If you expect one of these 10-best-kept-secrets-of-Berlin-lists, you are going to be disappointed. This is an example why I love to travel, always THE TOURISTIN, even at home. I have to find out what is behind a facade. People visiting Berlin love to go to Checkpoint Charlie. Nothing wrong with it at all, who am I to judge, I also have been to that part of town but to me it feels like a sort of Disneyland. It is a place full of history true but also full of fast food joints and the wrong kind of noise. The thing with Berlin is that you can seriously go wherever you want and most certainly end up in a place with an extraordinary history. There are countless corners where the Nazis deported and murdered and the Stasi (Ministry for State Security) spied on and oppressed people. This is not meant to be disrespectful, it is an invite to discuss the past and come up with ideas about what we all could do better in the future.

Visitors long to visit places where only locals go
, they don't want to hang out with other tourists. The truth is that these places are a rare find in Berlin. Visitors coexist with locals and vice versa. If I chose not to be surrounded by visitors, I better move away from this area since I regularly spot them below my window. School kids on an outing, trotting rather lame behind their teachers, playing all to cool for school, because hey, they are in the big city right now, and no one has ever done this before them (we all know that feeling). All these couples fighting, they were so in love when they arrived, their heads bowed over a map, now they feel simply lost. The super excited Twenty-somethings, openly carrying a bottle of beer at 9.30am, on the way to the hottest breakfast place, could life be any better, this is illegal back home. I was delighted about the fact to live along the route of the Hop-on-and-off bus tour and imagined their program to be like this. Please read carefully, I am at stop 13.

Stop 1 - Tauentzienstrasse 16
Stop 2 – KaDeWe
Stop 3 - Potsdamer Platz
Stop 4 - Martin-Gropius-Bau
Stop 5 - Checkpoint Charlie
Stop 6 – Gendarmenmarkt
Stop 7 – Mühlendamm
Stop 8 - Alexanderplatz (Park Inn Hotel)
Stop 9 - Alexanderplatz (Alexa)
Stop 10 - Rotes Rathaus / Neptunbrunnen
Stop 11 - Lustgarten/Musemsinsel/Altes Museum
Stop 12 - Brandenburger Tor
Stop 13 – Home of travel blogger and founder of Meet Travel Bloggers Berlin: Dorothée Lefering - THE TOURISTIN
Stop 14 - Hauptbahnhof
Stop 15 - Siegessäule

All visitors make Berlin so attractive. Imagine this town without them, what a bleak place this would be. When in Berlin I can't help but think over and over again that this is all madness, the recent history. But how very marvellous is it that people managed to overcome the past?

Secret places are everywhere

In Mitte there is the heritage listed Thomas-Dehler-Haus. Ever since it was erected in 1912 by architect Caspar Clemens Pickel (that guy was specialised in designing catholic churches) it played a significant part in the history of the street. It was a hospital and the home of a publishing house (in GDR times) before it (fairly recently in 1999) became the home of a political party. Thomas Dehler was a solicitor and politician. He married his Jewish wife in 1925 and soon after had to withstand pressure from the Nazis to divorce her and abandon his Jewish clients ...

It is one single property, and standing in front of it I think once more that too few spoke up against the Nazis and I wonder why not more were that brave during that time? Would we have been brave enough? My thoughts jump on and I wonder how silly it is that interfaith marriages are still a problem in our day and age. What did publishing houses do during the GDR? Publish mostly brainwashed stuff?

This is what life and travelling is all about. Look at the world with open eyes, the best stories are to be found literally everywhere ... and not only at Checkpoint Charlie. Berlin’s secret places are there right in front of you.

From Berlin with love

2 comments:

  1. I'm dying to visit Berlin, as I'm a history buff. Those details that interweave epochs of the 20th century are so fascinating and I can't wait to explore them when I can make it there.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dave, hope to meet you one day in Berlin. Would be pretty great.

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Greetings stranger. I always try to be myself and to be a tourist as often as I can. I would love to get in contact with lots of hard travelling tourists who love to be out and about as much as I do. I am looking forward to all your comments. Thanks so much in advance.