Although it’s only a short flight to Berlin, the train and waiting times meant we left the house at 7:45 am and got to Anne’s at 6pm (long day). After having a drink and dropping off our stuff, we went to a pop-up bar that was being presented by another permanent bar in Berlin. We went through this terrible mall all the way to the top, then exited to the parking garage and just one level below the top was a long line to get into a rooftop club which will only be open for a few weeks. We waited 45 minutes, then got to the front and let into the top of the parking garage just in time for sunset. They had an elaborate set-up: two dance floors, a raised stage, a three-sided bar, a kitchen (bratwurst, lentil soup, currywurst, etc). When we got to the top there were these two German guys in all white, one with a tiny guitar (ukelele) and one with a large one playing quirky folky German. There really aren’t many rooftop bars in Germany at all, so the view over Berlin from this one is incomparable. A few of Anne’s friends joined us later and from there we went to her friend’s houseparty.
After the late night and long travel day, we slept in and had a big continental breakfast spread at theirs in the morning (breads, meats, cheeses, spreads, espresso). Jo had to go to a birthday party for a few days so Anne, Jack and I went out for the day. First to a Turkish market to pick out fabric, then we went to this big art expo at this squat-club-compound combo where more than 100 illustrators, comic book artists, tattoo artists etc were selling their art (the criteria was that nothing could cost more than 100 euro). It was this huge place with sculptures all over – really arty, elaborate and sprawling and obviously in no observance of building codes. It’s also right on the Spree. We meandered around the tables and then got a few pizzas to share on the riverside.
Afterwards, we went back to have a nap in preparation for a very late night out. Then a proper Berlin clubbing night. The clubs stay open virtually 24-7, or at least Friday night through Monday morning. We met up with some of Anne’s friends until 6 am. You stay out ’til the sun comes out.
Sunday Blurred into Saturday – we came back and day-slept for a few hours, then had a late brunch and went from there to a street festival in Prenz Lauerberg. Walked amongst the stalls and then made our way over to this park in Charlottenberg for Floh Markt and tried to catch the weekly karaoke. It’s a huge ampitheatre, so if people want to perform they will be performing for hundreds of spectators. Sadly it wasn’t on this weekend!
From there we went to the Berlin Wall museum, which is a free, outdoor exhibit. You walk along a particular border and learn about the timeline, the families along the border, the escape attempts and successes, and see remnants of the wall. About 100 people died trying to cross into West Berlin, but a huge 5,000 or so succeeded over the 30ish years. To me that sounds like a huge number. After this, we met Jo and went to this restaurant that serves dumplings which you can only order in denominations of 20. 20, 40 or 60. After dinner, we were exhausted so went back to theirs for candy and X-Files, for some reason. We all fell asleep before a single episode elapsed and slept through a marathon.
Jack and I went off on our own, first for a 3-hour walking tour (Brandenberger Tor to Memorial to the Murdered Jews to Hitler’s bunker (well, the site of it: it’s a parkinglot that they haven’t commemorated in any way) to the old government district to the Wall to Checkpoint Charlie to Humboldt University to Potsdamer Square). It was okay, not as good as the Third Reich tour. Afterwards, we had beers in the Spree and decided which museum to go to, and ended up chosing the DDR museum. Again, it also was okay, not terrific.
Quirky and interesting though. After this, we met Anne and Jo in Treptower Park and they came laden with beers, wine and chips to have a little picnic in the park. Jo and Jack played ping pong while Anne and I had some alone time, then afterwards we packed up the picnic and went to this terrific Austrian restaurant for schnitzel and strudle.