The last city I visited on my trip was Berlin. I had heard so much about it, that I was so excited to see what it was all about! First I did all the touristy stuff — the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz, the Berlin Wall (East Side Gallery), etc. I also visited the Käthe Kollwitz Museum. It was just AMAZING seeing her work in person. She puts so much emotion (sadness, grief, loss) into her work. Her work is so powerful that it’s both inspiring and exhausting at the same time.
There was a political demonstration happening while I was walking along Unter Den Linden. A group of guys were puppeteering a giant marionette; making it walk and ride a skateboard.
There were several reasons why I visited Berlin other than just to see the sights. One of the reasons is that my Mother went to art school in East Berlin, so I wanted to see the school and the flat that she lived in. It was a very special experience for me to see where my Mom lived for 3 years (when she was younger than I am now)!
My Mom’s best friend from art school (who designed the eagle on the German version of the Euro coin!) has a daughter my age, so I met up with her. Alina is a graphic designer like her Mother, and we had a very nice time together. Alina + her boyfriend showed me the Flohmarkt (fleamarket — amazing stuff which I wanted to buy but couldn’t fit in my suitcase), we ate delicious waffles in Prenzlauer, and they showed me what is remaining of the Berlin Wall. I’m really happy I got to meet Alina since our Mothers were best friends.
I also met up with my Grandfather’s friend Klaus who is over 80 years old. Klaus took me on a tour of Berlin and had lots to say about living through the war, rebuilding afterwards (he said people wanted simple things.. like windows), living in East Berlin, and it was all very interesting. He took me to the Märchenbrunnen which is a collection of super cute fairy tale sculptures placed around a giant fountain. He explained that after WWII the fountain was busted and most of the pieces were missing. Years after the war when he was working as a journalist, he was given a tip about sculptures found in an old abandoned garage. There he discovered all the missing sculptures for the fountain! I think it’s amazing that he helped restore this fountain back to its original glory.
I liked Berlin. It felt like a city where change was possible.