So…I’m not in Asia anymore! After a year of teaching in Korea and another year of travelling around Southeast Asia, I now find myself in Europe. Berlin to be precise. I’m planning to spend a month in Berlin followed by a few little weekend trips to other cities around Germany, but before I start writing about Berlin more in depth, I first wanted to introduce you to the city via a few Instagram snaps I’ve been taking:
This is what my neighbourhood in Prenzlauer Berg looks like. I love the creams and pastels along the street and I also have very musical neighbours: two singers who like to practice their scales in the apartment above me, a very talented guitarist in the apartment beneath me, and some experimental musicians who I think are trying to create music with pipes and glass bottles?!
A shot of the iconic Fernsehturm, also known as the Berlin TV Tower. The tower dominates the city skyline and it also acts as a bit of a personal compass for me, because I can usually tell what direction I need to head in based on where the tower stands.
While walking along the length of the East Side Gallery, my friend and I came across some of Thierry Noir’s pieces. I couldn’t resist kissing those big red lips! Thierry Noir is a French artist, and more importantly, he was one of the first artists to bring art to the Berlin Wall.
One of my favourite murals found along the East Side Gallery is that of a Trabant – affectionately known as a Trabi – bursting through the dividing wall. The Trabant was a car produced in former East Germany and they were on high demand. The usual wait time for one of these was 15-17 years!
Freidrichshain has been one of my favourite neighbourhoods to explore. The area is home to some cool underground art galleries, old warehouses covered in street art, and residential buildings that look like this. They also have a really cool Sunday Flea Market that draws people from across town.
My friend Rebecca flew in from London for a visit and we did quite a bit of art gallery hopping. On a particularly rainy day we decided to visit Berlin’s Museum Island, and armed with day passes we tried to tackle the island’s 5 museums and art galleries.
My time in Germany has also involved a lot of chocolate sampling. A few years ago during a previous visit to the country I visited the Ritter Sport Chocolate Factory (heaven!). They have since come out with a whole lot of new flavours, so I’ve been doing ‘research’…for a YouTube video, of course!
On Sundays, Mauerpark is the place to be. The park hosts a fun flea market where you can buy everything from vintage furniture to DDR paraphernalia. My favourite part, however, is the live music. You can catch performances at the Bear Pit (a small outdoor amphitheatre) or along the length of the paths where young bands set up shop and play indie rock, blues, and experimental music. It’s a really fun environment and a lot of people come with small barbecues and picnic baskets to spend the day.
I was surprised to learn that Berlin is home to a palace. While Berlin Palace (Berliner Schloss) was demolished at the end of WW2, Charlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg) was reconstructed and is now open to visitors. The palace was commissioned by Queen Sophia Charlotte, and it was fun to glimpse into her world of Baroque and Rococo style.
And lastly, a shot of Berliner Dom. You wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at it now, but the dome of the cathedral had completely caved in by the end of World War 2.
For more Instagram updates from Germany, you can follow me here @thatbackpacker.