I’ve just spent a few days in Berlin with my wife, Kath, and friends Jon and Maggie. For Kath and me it was the first visit; Jon and Maggie hadn’t been since the early nineties. soon after the Wall came down.
I was really looking forward to the trip and it met my expectations big time. An utterly fascinating place. The modern, rebuilt, revitalised Berlin sits alongside the the parts that are still lost in time, while the vibrancy of the here and now, the optimism about the future, is intertwined with the unbelievable and gruesome past. You cannot go to Berlin – at least on your first visit – without experiencing the good and the bad, the exciting, the shocking and the downright bizarre.
I don’t think I’ve been anywhere before that makes you want to sit down with a beer after a day’s sightseeing and talk about history and the meaning of politics, of life, quite so much.
A truly profound experience, Berlin.
I’m not going to write an essay here, which hardly anyone will have time to read. Instead I’m going to run a little series of photos, a bit like my lovelondonscenes, with a few reflections where appropriate.
To start, a few shots from the rooftop of the apartment block where we stayed, courtesy of Circus apartments, in Choriner Strasse, in the Mitte district, just up from Rosenthaler Platz. East Berlin when the city was divided. Now very much the centre of town.
First up, a view of the ubiquitous TV tower, part of the East German legacy, situated just off Alexanderplatz. A reminder of the past, but also a stunning part of the present. It’ll be in a fair few shots. You couldn’t shake it off even if you wanted to.
The dome below is Berlin’s cathedral. Like St Paul’s in London, a survivor of the World War 2 bombings. It was a bit hazy as you looked into the sun. But we were lucky with the weather. Cold, but no rain for four days!
The tower in the background belongs to the Zionskirch, which became a place of resistance in the last days of the DDR regime.
East Berlin refurbished.
And the strikingly new.
So stay with me for more on Berlin. There is so much to see and say….
(And if you ever want to stay in a modern, stylish self-catering apartment, with a good cafe downstairs, within easy reach of all the main Berlin sights, you might want to check out Circus.)