muaaaaaaaaaa….. getting up at 13h is life. I needed it. Eveli woke up years before Niko and I did. It´s so awesome how Niko opened his door to us (after not having seen me in ages) and gave us a comfortable bed, “student” food and all kinds of other traveling luxuries! Chico 10. Great guy. 100% happy of having contacted him. Wait, he contacted me when I actually didn´t even remember he was living there. 120%…..
After weeks traveling one day where you sleep 12 hours you will still not be fit…BY FAR! You need a couple of days like that…at least. But hey, it´ll have to do.
I had some time to catch up with Niko and get to know what his life has been like for the last years. Working in a tourist shop seems quite stressful. Selling “Berlin Wall pieces” for 20 euros a piece sounds crazy. Specially to hear that American and Russian tourists come and but 7 or 8 for the family. And crazier..when I asked him:
-“Hey Niko, you guys sell thousands a day…and there are 10.000.000 tourist shops in Berlin…and they have been selling these things for YEAAAAAAARS already…I´m not very good at maths, but….”
-“No idea if they are for real, they might as well be a piece of old tattered house from around the block….for 20 euros a piece..yep. The Maths make no sense, you are right.”
We made for the city quite late but in a couple of hours of walking around I already fell in love with it. The mix of history and modernity make the city really amusing. If you are a history geek you´ve got things to visit and to hear about for days at end. If you are more like an architect freak you´ve got more than enough to see to keep you in Berlin for a week!
The proportion of the city is hard to understand. Berlin is full of huge green parks monuments in every corner, etc. Me, with my “small city” culture figured we could go walking all around. I even do it in Madrid, what the heck…it can´t be much worse…right? WRONG.
The contrast of the old style churches and the very modern buildings that litter Berlin makes the city have a special landscape. Remember, Berlin was “flattened” down during the Second World War, and then East Berlin suffered of socialist tetris building style ´till just 20 something years ago! All West Berlin and much of what has been replaced in East Berlin has been made in a very modern way.
We LOVED the street life!!! Not only tens of thousands of tourists(Eveli and I included) but there are street musicians, magicians, dancers, kapoeira groups, a capella singers, and a crazy huge amount of different people who enter in the “etc” denomination. There was music and movement everywhere! People making a living on the streets and living the Berlin spirit, from all over the world!
In Berlin you can see the most crazy cats. And I mean really “alternative” people you might frown upon in any other place. Tattered hippies, old school Punks, extreme Goths, all-chained-up Rockers with hair a girl would envy, and many many people I couldn´t even fit into one of those cliché tags. Just…epic. And nobody even gave them a look. It´s just…Berlin.
I was amazed on how the people of Berlin would just sit around street musicians with a beer that night just listening and living the moment!!
We visited the Reichstag….I MEAN BUNDESTAG!!!! Uff…don´t make that mistake as I did when I got there. Too many history books I think. Reich=empire in German and implies it was the government building during the “let´s invade the World” era. We also visited Alaxanderplatz(an awesome and lively square, with the famous TV tower), the Brandenburg gate, the remainders of the Berlin Wall, Check point Charly and the momument to the jews killed during the Nazi era. The monument really touches you deep when you think about it. Every one of the never-ending concrete blocks represent 10.000 jews who were starved to death, shot, brought to extermination camps, or any other undesireable end you can imagine. Try not to be the typical parkour tourist we saw jumping from block to block. Think about what it means when you are there…
Finally, the day was rounded up because of seeing some of Eveli´s friends, Tuule and Antti, and my friend, also from Estonia, Liina, who I met during my times in Switzerland. A few night time beers and Estonian Amaretto put us in a good tone to do a night time city tour(awesome!).
The day had been great! I fell in love with a city. Beautiful in a different way than, say, Prague. Prague is just…ALL AROUND beautiful. Berlin is a mix of history, multiculty as the inhabitants of Berlin say, modernity, music and good life!
Berlin, du bist SOOOO Wunderbar!!!