My closest friends know how hard I've been working the past few months on my Dissertation so after turning in what felt like my life's work, it was time for a holiday to say the least! And what better way to celebrate than jetting off to Europe for a city getaway. My boyfriend and I have been wanting to visit Berlin for some time and after the countless amounts of friends I have made this past year from Germany, it was an obvious choice.
From the historic memories of a war-torn nation to the traditional Bavarian food markets and the modern hipster vibes highlighting the individuality of its people, Berlin is one destination for the books. Growing up studying the World Wars, the Holocaust, and the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, experiencing the rich history of this city in person felt like I had just opened a time capsule.
The East Side Gallery was one of my favorite sights where famous artists have highlighted their own memories of the years whereby a single wall divided the city. Animated and colorful illustrations illuminate the east side of the river stands as a satirical reminder of the past. However, one particular captivated me the most - "Time isn't passing, it's you passing." I stood there staring at this chunk of concrete that literally changed the lives of millions of people and divided the rehabilitation of a once united city. This reminded me of our lives today - We go through the motions of our everyday routines and tend to forget about the world around us. For years, Berliners would pass by this symbolic concrete wall and go about their normal schedules. Even with international support, the Berlin Wall stood for almost 30 years... 30 years of families separated, 30 years of propaganda, 30 years of time standing still in the eyes of East Berliners.
Walking through the streets of Berlin, I didn't feel necessarily attached to the architecture, the food, the shops, or even the lifestyle. What made me feel attached to the city the most was it's sense of encouragement for individual thought and acceptance of all human life. From the chilling experience of walking through the Holocaust memorial to the bohemian, free-flowing vibe of its residents, Berlin may have changed throughout the century, but it will forever be known for its modernity in action. Rebuilding Berlin wasn't easy as memories of the past still reside in neighborhoods, tourist attractions, and major roads, but time heels all wounds and for Berlin, all it needed was time.
In the evening, the city is thriving between small, intimate bars where the cocktails keep flowing and the local beer gardens don't stop serving until the wee hours of the morning. Cabarets and acrobatic performances bring the eccentric past to the future in a whole new way that lights up Berlin's nightlife. I could feel the energetic vibes in the air as we walked into old abandoned warehouses that turn into the only place you want to be seen on a Thursday night. Even if you're not quite adventurous enough to try the traditional Bavarian sausages, Mediterranean, sushi, and Italian restaurants can be found all over the city with the utmost of standards in delicatessen.
Berlin is not just a holiday, but a perfect city escape to unwind your work and relax in the city that brings inspiration and history to your every sight. It may not be the most aesthetically unique as Paris or Rome, but Berlin brings a new sense of originality that truly no other city can compete.