Because I'm a big fan of Christmas markets, when my friend Joanna of LittleJoyBook asked me if I'd like to join her on a short trip to Germany, I was definitely in. The plan was to stop in Berlin for a day of cultural exploring, then head to Nuremberg to experience one of the world's most famous Christmas Markets, according to Frommer's Giude. Although I'd already been to Berlin twice before, I was excited to explore some of the places I'd missed on previous trips. After all, it's a really big city with more history than anybody can really soak in within just a two-day weekend.
As we walked around town, going from East to West, from historical monument to shopping district, I realized a significant shift in energy. Now, I'm not a reader or anything like that, but lately I've been extra sensitive to the moods and feelings of a certain place or person. Certain places seem to have a kind of vibe about them that makes people around me either happy, energetic, fearful, or any other range of emotions.
Chapter I: Gray - Holocaust Memorial
The Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe is, in my opinion, a most perfect monument. Large cement blocks or varying sizes are lined up on an uneven pavement. As one walks through, a certain feeling of uncertainty comes about. I once read that these details are intended to make the observer realize the uneasiness the Jewish people experienced throughout the Nazi Holocaust period. As the sun sheds light over the tops of the blocks, one almost senses a kind of hope. But the unending mass of blocks ahead and around only force us to remember that the end is not yet near. Being someone who identifies with the Jewish culture and faith, I found this monument to be a moving experience. What I did not appreciate were all the children running around screaming. It's simply disrespectful. It's a monument for people who were murdered by the millions, not a playground.
Chapter II: Red - Berlin Wall "East Side Gallery"
My choice to use the color red to describe the Berlin Wall is intentional. Not because the paintings at the East Side Gallery use a lot of red, and not even because of it's the color of communism, but because it's a color that accurately portrays the manias of what was going on in that time. Below the tan and khaki uniforms was a web of lies and secrets. Growing up in a post-Soviet society, you hear a lot about what it was like to be on the Eastern side of things from parents, uncles, and perhaps a few family friends who managed to cross over to the West. As we walked around the broken pieces, all I could think about was the feeling of claustrophobia and rage toward the idea of a wall coming up around my part of town without any notice from one day to another, followed by a liberation long awaited by the adults who grew up kids contained inside a giant bubble.
Red can symbolize everything from sex to fear. The Berlin Wall is all of those things today because the Cold War was all of those things then. It's an important monument for people of our generation to understand instead of scribble over like the idiots who caused the local government to put this fence up.
Chapter III: Yellow - A New Germany
Needless to say, Germany has been through one hell of a lot in the last 150 years. The events have left people with a harsh stereotype and a heavy burden to carry, even today. But as politics and technology move forward, a new light shines upon Germany for its policies on immigration, abundant music scene, and importance in a wide variety of industries. Sure, we did encounter the odd stare from an old German man and even a few rude awakenings (at the Bode Museum, what the hell?), but the overall experience of the New Germany is shining as bright as a neon sign and it reads, "come in, we're open."
In the photos below you'll see the famous Brandenburg Gate. It's history is a complicated one, changing its meaning every few years from a symbol of strength to one of weakness, back to fear and now to unity. You can read more about this here.
Watch the video of our 24 Hours in Berlin :)
There's a lot to love about Berlin. Whether you come for the history, the food, or the nightlife, it's one of the few cities that never stops giving. In the future I would consider living in Berlin, although not forever.
For more travel related posts, visit my travel blog at www.MadeinMoments.com and don't forget to follow Joanna on Instagram @LittleJoyBook to stay updated about her upcoming lifestyle diary!
PS - If you like what I'm wearing, visit this outfit post!