November 22, 2013 by brasiersarah
So four months and several thousand dollars later we reunited with the Californians in a completely different land. There was no bartering, dirt roads or entire families of 5 on scooters, there was just a well structured concrete jungle. There is something about the city that was strange, something thats hard to put your finger on. The city didnt seam to have a centre as such, more pockets of popular places. But once you found them you always left impressed. Berlin has some of the finest exapmles of street art and in particular the Berlin wall. Call it what to want street art, graffiti or vandalisim it is just amazing I’d say better than some work in the Louve. Each section either tells a story or is in reference to something great. There is depth to these pieces and depth that should be recognised by the “IZZY waz ere” stained on the back of the local bus seat. I am deeply divided by graffiti because on one hand you have an amazing collaboration of people putting together something like the East Side Gallery and on the other there is what looks like a spilt bucket of dishwater on the back of the bus. I think the difference between what I saw in Berlin and what is usually referred to as graffiti is the message behind it or what the “artist” is trying to achieve. The real stuff, the things you see in magazines and the stuff the council decide to leave up usually has a message or has artistic depth to it. The other stuff is someone trying to be recognised either by others or themselves. I guess what I am trying to say is the difference in good street art it is about how far they can take their talent how they can impress the public and not just to known but to appreciated. This was the weekly flea market. Well this isnt the flea market but a byproduct of it, the karaoke and there are a hell of a lot more people that your local karaoke club. But you could not find any more support if you called the help line. Everyone cheers every time and trust me a lot of the time they didn’t need to. But my hat goes off to anyone that can belt out a number in front of that many people no matter how terrible their voice is. The Germans make it easy to love a place like this.Makes things a little easier when you have your very own pseudo-german / Aussie friend to show you around to all the hottest spots. Thanks Sal! The Schpeti during its more moral hours. Club-mate pronounced kloob ma-tay but our course Australian accent left you no choice but to call it how you see it. Club Mate! I can only describe it as a fizzy ice tea that quickly grows on you, or is that just the vodka. What seems like a now trending local tradition is to go to the schpeti get yourself a couple of bottles of club mate, a bottle of vodka and let the liquid flow. This was one of my favourite pieces of street art. After you’re finished marvelling at the details you can then begin to really appreciate how big it is. I mean this thing is big its canvas is a six story building and it spans from top to bottom! The Berlin Wall was born in the dead of night on the August the 12th 1961. What was born as a bared wire fence slowly matured into a solid concrete wall 3.6 metres high, an additional inner wall patrolled by soldiers, dogs, mine fields, racked ground to identify foot prints, anti vehicle trenches, electric fences, watch towers encompassed by 300 feet of no mans land. The wall was more than a physical division it was a division of beliefs, culture and freedom. That Saturday when the people from Berlin woke they discovered something that would divide the city for 28 years. The East was considered one of the spoils of war by the Soviet Union and once it became its own country was forced into a communist society. I endorse the beliefs of communism but I don’t believe that humans are able to pull it off successfully. Not yet anyway. Though only divided by only 300 feet West Berlin was a different world all together. Managed in zones by the British, French and Americans it was a capitalistic society that thrived and was known as the “economic miracle”. There was not a more perfect example of “the grass is greener on the other side”. Because Germany was divided as Berlin was, a capitalistic island formed within a sea of communism, a safe haven from the Soviet Union. People wanted out. East Berlin had become a big brother state with spies and patrols around every corner. Every square inch around the wall was monitored day and night including the houses people lived in. Alas this did not squash human natures ambition for a better life, over 5,000 people are estimated to have made it over (or under) the wall alive. It was simple to begin with just chuck a rope over the wall and off you pop to a better life. As the wall and its defences complicated so did the plans of escape and escape they did. Trucks flew at full speed into solid walls and through the dust and rubble people would emerge at full speed carrying their children and photo albums. One creative family built a hot air balloon and flew 2,500 metres into the air before touching down onto the west side. More than once a tunnel was built from East to West from the basements of fleeing refugees. One of these tunnels was dubbed the “Senior citizens tunnel”, led by and 81 year old man a group of zimmer riding cowboys/girls dug a 160 foot tunnel at 6 feet high! The reason for the tunnel being so high was because the men “wanted to walk to freedom with our wives, comfortably and unbowed”. Someone even made it over a tightrope. But these were the lucky people, with a shoot on sight between 100-200 people died attempting to live a better life. But on August 17, 1962 Peter Fetcher was shot trying to scale the wall. He continued trying to climb but eventually lost his strength and fell back down, for over and hour he lay at the foot of the wall screaming for help but to no avail. No one came to his aid and once the blood and life were drained from his body he was taken away. It seems mankind is never happy unless it is fighting for something. What drives us to fight? Is it the need to feel alive to know your alive and to prove your existence. How do you do that? You make a mark a mark big enough in history that no one can forget. You prove your reality by making yourself known, because what are you if no one knows you exist? If only you know you exist then do you truly exist? To prove reality is not done through evidence or fact it is done through belief and if enough people believe you and the reality you create then that is reality and who is to argue? A reality was created in East Berlin but it was not strong enough to suppress the people because they knew that there was something better for them, a reality without spies and patrols without the fear of death. If we know that reality can exist and we believe in it, I mean really truly believe, then it can become a reality. It is a state of mind, a state of existence and we are able to choose our existence just like we choose life over death. What is your choice? This is why Sarah is in charge of taking the photos. Of all the crazies and in the streets this one get my award for originality. I mean is it a skirt, a g-string or a pair of shorts? This is from the Jewish museum. Hundreds of faces cut from iron dipicting the faces if the jewish community. This was in a exhibition in the Jewish Museum not a joke from us. It was centred around modern day Judaism and how you can make fun of a jew and still be politically correct. Their words not mine. This is when we really started to love Berlin. We just stumbled across this massive…….well I dont know what it is but it looks great. This was a entire ally devoted to graffiti and it was incredible! Wedged in between the graffiti were small of centre bars that housed an eclectic group of people. You see something like this and you say to yourself “yep this is my favourite one of the day” then three metres down you see something even better. A nice tribute to Anne Frank. I like this because its not a forced monument against the Nazi regime. No council member has decided that it would be good for politics if they put up a statue of Anne Frank. An individual decided to make a monument to her in her honour because she deserved it. This was the highlight of Berlin, a dog box by the name of Dr. Pong. It goes a little something like this. You hire a paddle (if you’re an amateur), you get a beer and you play. Easy as that. You start in a group of at least 20 then the ball is served and off you go. You have to hit the ball and if you get it in you make your way around the other side. If you screw it up then your out until the next round. As the game progresses eventually people loose their nerve and are disqualified. The first few rounds are easy you are almost getting impatient to play but when it gets down to three people then its a heart racing event. People are literally running around the table to get the shot, its one of the best times I have had in a bar. When its down to the last two they play normally for five rounds. You can tell straight away who the pros are. They all know each and are usually the last two to play. Waiting, waxing their bats (seriously) and scoffing at the competition. That was our last night in Berlin and it left us feeling like we only just scraped the surface. We were there long enough enough to know that we didn’t know Berlin at all. We need to go back and discover every secret ally and hideaway bar. There is so much to see but only if your really looking for it.