2014 Berlin

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Thanks to an invitation from my dearest uncle in Berlin here I am mid August about to land at Germany's capital:

As soon as I leave the metro behind and step out to the real world of Berlin it instantly puts a smile on my face. The vibes of the city already feel so nice. A cycle & pedestrian friendly city with the perfect amount of population spread so wide makes it feel totally balanced. Maybe cause it really is. As I walk towards my uncle's house I see a toddler falling head down to the ground at a playground. This "ouch that really hurt!" scene makes me expect the typical mum's panic followed by a cry baby soundtrack. To my surprise the tall beautiful mum lifts the kid silent and cold blooded and the latter reacted as it never happened. That's just impossible in the European South, maybe with the exception of France.

Berlin continues to impress history wise this time. How can someone skip the tags in front of the houses where Jews used to stay before they were "Ermordet in Auschwitz":

We take the bus and I take my first pictures around Potsdamer Platz:

I really like the moderate traffic and the inspired architecture around. A few steps later I see bits of the Berlin wall for the first time:

Berlin hosts some of the most important parts of the European history and definitely the wall is one of them. It's leftovers are here to remind us that the governing vision of that time which aimed to keep the people inside a cage was bound to fail. In a way so do the Trabant cars of that era, aptly painted for their new purpose:

You can't skip history when you walk around Berlin. A few steps later I am at the monument of the murdered Jews:

It's a cultural shock to see those 2711 "bricks". The place cries for peace in its own silent way.

The historic points of interest never end around here and yours truly is the one posing at Brandenburg gate:

What this gate sees on a nice summer day is this:

This gate often enjoys street music:

I found the Russian Embassy there to be a bit kitschy with all this gold touches but I might just be me as I hate gold much more than others do:

The numerous constructions sites around the city didn't prevent me from admiring emblematic buildings like the German historical museum:

or the Berlin Cathedral:

Sorry girls but this sugar white Mustang behind you is way too sweet:

Close to my uncle's apartment is one of the most impressive chocolate stores I've ever been. Combine this with the fact that I die for chocolate and you can easily imagine me drooling while taking these pictures:

Yep, all made of cho.co.effin.late.

Next morning as I walk around Schoneberg I see this:

I must admit that it makes me feel even more proud of the locals: a guy found some keys and posted this to help the guy who lost them. How cool is that? Wish we were all like this.

Schoneberg's city hall is one more historic building:

This is where JFK made his all time classic speech back in 1963 saying "Ich bin ein Berliner". Good things usually don't last long and JFK's assassination would take place only a few months later. Several thousand Berliners gathered at the square resulting in its renaming to John-F.-Kennedy-Platz three days later. Good job Berliners.

Behind Schoneberg's "Rathaus" is the impressive building which hosts justice services:

Various old water pumps around like this one:

As I keep walking around I see signs reading the same things against Jews that used to be posted back in the mid-late 30s - early 40s:

It is impressive how Berlin doesn't hide under the carpet the dark side of its history. If only all places had such strength to face the harsh truth of their past.

Of course, as usual it's impossible to miss Greek elements regardless where I go, this time I picked a funny/cute one:

Next day we take the bus to the center again and once more I like to picture buildings on the way:

Much more beautiful than this part of the Berlin wall:

"Check point Charlie" was the third (C for Charlie) check point back in the beautiful days of cold war.

Today it's an attraction for tourists:

As I step into East Berlin I'm impressed by the difference. Even decades after the fall of the wall you can still smell the freezing odour of the East regime. Or at least you definitely see how much more tasteless are the buildings compared to the West ones:

Here's the local trend of guys selling hot dogs wearing this crazy equipment that turns them into a mobile store:

Clouds gather over the ultra tall TV tower:

Not far and also (but not as) tall is the Rotes Rathaus:

Spree river really decorates nicely this lovely city. Numerous ruise boats tour around these beauties:

As I get the chance for a closer look to Berlin's cathedral I loose my jaw to its view:

Lustgarten connects the cathedral with the also impressive Altes Museum:

Later in the evening I spot this smart graffiti on a trash bin:

And this fantastic picture at a store. Only girls can make a picture look that cool:

Next morning we head for more exploration West of the city. At Wannsee I picture a guy painting the view:

Here's the view itself:

We walk through the park to take the ferry to Pfaueninsel, a lovely park indeed:

It's such a relaxing area that combined with the cloudy weather makes me feel sleepy most of the time. As we board on the ferry I see a woman taking "sleepy" a step further. Look at her sleeping in the middle:

Pfaueninsel is a gem. It's actually a heaven of gardens:

I find a bench and rest for a while to enjoy the view. So sweet:

As I look down I see a tiny insect in its amazing colour:

And turn my head up again to enjoy the sail boats passing by:

In this green heaven I later visit the local hunt lodge built in 1796 out of wood:

Smells like Ancient Greece isn't it?

Do you like horses? I totally do. This is among the cutest I find there and the also cute kids in front of it push the scene to a cuteness overload:

Road to heaven? Could be:

It's called peacock island for a reason. Poser time:

The island has also a small castle which brings the whole experience to fairy tale levels:

You can never have enough of this extraordinary little island but we had to take the ferry back.

Next day I have a bit of solo walking around Schoneberg and decide to do Volkspark. The fountain of the golden deer stands out:

As I walk back later I find this stuff tagged on the sidewalk:

One more impressive detail as it seems that people leave things they don't need anymore with description so that others now if they fit for them. Nice!

Here is yours truly on a cute old iron sofa:

A walk later at night brings me to this cute store:

And also at a movie scene. Look at this extremely modified film car!:

Of course no surprise they picked a Citroen for a film car - their suspension is hard to beat.

Next day we decide to go to Sony center and here I am under this sweet construction:

We give it a try at the museum island but with waiting times like this for me it's an absolute No:

One more on the "cute store/cute sofa" concept:

My dear uncle, the tireless guide, is kind enough to take me to Potsdam the next day. I had no idea about this masterpiece before but I can't thank him enough that now I do. As we arrive the first thing I see is the "Neues Palais":

With a garden like this no visitor leaves this place unhappy:

At the Botanic garden of Potsdam University I find this older than stones piece of tree:

This place is full of various weirdos of vegetation:

It's called "Springbrunner" for a reason:

And now ladies and gents, get ready for the King's view as he steps out of Orangery Palace:

And that's the Palace itself:

Sanssouci Palace is the top attraction there. You'll agree it's aptly named if you ever visit it:

There's some marvellous statues around:

Weird and nice, here's the Chinese house:

The whole area is an absolute must as you can see, takes some time to walk and enjoy but totally worth it.

Next day finds me one more time around the center intending to focus a bit more on the Berlin wall. Oberbaum bridge makes its way easily to my photo album:

The Berlin wall is full of graffiti so I'll let the pictures do the talking:

The building of the central train station is a very interesting approach on glass and steel:

Since it is my last day in Berlin, I take a boat tour to enjoy the city via the river. Nice buildings around.


And new:

Some beer on board never hurt anybody:

Here's a video from the river tour:

I left Berlin behind the next day with really nice impressions, not that with the right guide and friendly weather I could go wrong anyway. I really loved the absence of tensions between classes there (or maybe I was too happy to notice any) making the city feel so nicely balanced. Totally recommended.

See you on the next one!