Crikey, today we go. Time to make a plan. Three nights in Berlin with two (too cool for school) 15 year old boys (men?) and my brother.
There is much ground to cover – Berlin is a big city (population 3.5m) with a complicated, turbulent history (not just 20th century), and a 21st century reputation for creativity and innovation. David Bowie was always ahead of his time – he knew it was the place to be.
It seems I’ve done okay with the basics – the location of the Grand Hostel Berlin. Lonely Planet tells me that the Kreuzberg district is “gritty but cool.” The teenagers will approve.
Last time I was here (in 1991) I bought a (purported) piece of the Berlin Wall. God knows where it is now.
Last time my brother was here, he stood on the Berlin Wall as the clock struck midnight on 31st December 1989.
Zeitgeist-hungry tourists crammed together with folk from all four quarters of East and West Berlin, jostling for space on the (fast disappearing) Wall – a scene of euphoria that would have been unthinkable just months earlier.
A chunk of history to share with our sons.
- Checkpoint Charlie … the Brandenburg Gate … the Reichstag … and all the principal sites, including the Holocaust Memorial (with its controversial graffiti-resistant coating – produced by the same company that supplied Zyklon B for use in Nazi gas chambers).
- Berlin is a cultural centre with its own Museum Island, but I’m guessing that the mile-long East Side Gallery – a stretch of the Berlin Wall featuring work by artists from all over the world – might be more up our street.
- Sunday Karaoke in Mauerpark and nude sunbathing in the Tiergarten? Vielleicht nicht (perhaps not). We might jog (clothed) though.
- A Biergarten or two, a panoramic view, and a walk by the river Spree.
- Some techno in (arguably) Europe’s clubbing capital? Our boys would soon learn the German for “embarrassing Dad dancing”.
- And our own taste of the Zeitgeist with a Refugees Voices Tour.
- Not forgetting to check out David Bowie’s old home. What a hero.
So a plan is fast forming, in time for us to take the train …
Bis gleich, Berlin.
Who know’s if there are still spaces, but Saga Holidays are running a four night David Bowie tour of Berlin. It’s a bit pricey for us … we’re going to have to make it up as we go along …