SPEEDY BERLIN

The greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.

David Bowie

A sudden change of plans lead me to book a 48 hours trip to Berlin. Of course, leaving in the evening after work, I booked a priority pass at the airport in order to get through security as fast as possible, I took a taxi and there I was on a flight to Berlin. A city I would visit for the first time without much expectation.

I landed and took the public transport to get to the closest S-bahn to the Airbnb apartment. I went out of the station and I was suddenly in another world. A small band had installed all the equipment for singing in the station. You may think that’s quite common, and in fact you can see that in other places as well. What I didn’t expect was a crowd of young people surrounding them and dancing!

After crossing a bridge from the east side to the west side I arrived to the heart of Kreuzberg, a district of Berlin that used to be one of the poorest areas of West Berlin during the Cold War.

My friend Adriana was waiting for me in this very practical and minimal apartment on the ground floor of what seemed an insipid building from outside… After a tour of the bars in the neighbourhood and a few beers we called it a day and went to sleep.

on the following day our aim was to visit as much as we could and explore the city. Of course we on our way to have breakfast a very nice shop grabbed our attention and we ended up buying a few clothes…

We then headed to the East Side gallery, an open air art gallery consisting of a series of murals painted directly on the remnants of the Berlin Wall. stand-in there is breathtaking, not only because the murals are highly suggestive but also because of all the symbolism of this place!

My mind was clouded by not very well defined ideas and pictures seen on history books: “It’s actually smaller than I Imagined! How could something like this happen? Oh, look! I’ve seen that mural again! How were the limits delineated? I love that one! A wall to set a border, how medieval! This fell when I was one years old! 30 years after Trump wall was built…”

Surrounded by a crowd of people taking picture all I felt standing in front of these beautiful murals was loneliness…

Our next stop was of course Alexanderplatz, one of the most visited places in Berlin. I actually admit I was absorbed in my thoughts, did not pay much attention to the surrounding, I saw them as in a flash. A song started to give a strange rhythm to my thoughts, Alexanderplatz by Franco Battiato… I had never give this song much thought, I had never imagined what it could represent and suddenly the end of the song “Do you like Schubert?” became clear to me.

Shivers went down my spine when, in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Adriana told me the words President Regan had said to Gorbachev in 1087.

“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

All this seems so far away that you start to doubt the dimension of time in a city that looks like an open construction center! A city that must be changing constantly given the number of buildings under construction you see in the streets. A beautiful contemporary architecture that, however, does not leave space to conserving!

But I guess certain things cannot be forgotten. Berlin can wear a new dress everyday but it’s past is there…

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

When you walk in Berlin you do not feel sad, you experience that Stimmung called Angst: an unfocused dread on the human condition!

US Army Checkpoint

As the evening comes I got used to this sensation, I felt like melting into it, as if it was becoming part of me, a tension building up as if West and East were still existing today.

The roads start to get full of African immigrants proposing any kind of substance or drug as if life needed a boost.

The scenery on New Years Eve is almost apocalyptic: the roads are frenetic, people go in all directions, mostly young people dress in black maybe planning to go to a club later…

Of course fireworks going on since the afternoon in the middle of the street setting another contrast in my mind between the beauty of the sight and the analogy of the sound with bombs.

I can definitely say that visiting Berlin is a whole experience and that this city’s nightlife is amazing and very extravagant! We spent the evening in a bar where we met a very nice couple from Australia wand drunk the old year off… then went to a private party where we had a blast!

We must have looked quite friendly because we got into a cool private party and that’s how our 2020 begun…

Every end is a new beginning…

P.S.: more pictures and videos on my instagram profile!

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