Berlin day 3

After sleeping in as usual we finally ventured out in to the cold Berlin winter around early afternoon. We walked by outdoor skate rink, and ferris wheel that make up part of the Christmas markets in Berlin-Mitte. I was cold and grumpy so Mikey bought me a sponge bob balloon to cheer me up.

We paid 4 Euro each to see an exhibition at the Guggenheim. sl371001.jpg

There were only 12 photographs, all depicting lower class. I wasn’t really impressed to be honest and thought the museum would be a lot bigger and/or have something fantastic on display. I guess I should have done my research before paying for that one.

Once we got back outside we immediately wanted to go somewhere warm again so I dragged Mikey shopping. We don’t have enough money to buy fancy things, or enough room in our backpacks, so I just looked a bit. I don’t know why I do that to myself, its just depressing.

Next we ventured out to a new part of the city to find a metal bar called Access. We read on “heavy metal travel guide” that it only played “Extreme metal: black, death, and thrash” – say no more.

We got off the Metro at Eberswalder Strasse and immediately grabbed a warm brew at Impala Coffee to keep us warm. They have soymilk and good looking babes behind the counter (I don’t think guys are aloud to work there, at least not at that one). They also sell The Berliner – the only weekly English magazine with gigs, theatre and club listings. Its only 2 Euro and well worth the investment.

We had to walk about 20 minutes to find the brutal pub; Access (we could have caught a tram, but we were still getting used to the whole city transport thing). It wasn’t even open when we got there, so we took a tram to Alexanderplatz to find the popular pizza joint, Due Forni. It’s supposedly famous in Berlin for its great food and the graffiti all over the walls (which I was later told is a privilege granted “only for bands and friends of bands”). I was caught writing ‘Pratt Ratt’ on the wall and the waiter decided to inform me of this “priviledge” then.

pratt ratts tag

The walls are completely covered with shitty band tags, “From Autum to Ashes” were among the hundreds of crap bands written around the place. At least the Pratt Ratts have some cred. I’d much rather have a Ratt tag my wall than a horrible shit band, but I guess that’s their problem. The pizza was really good and they had no problem making mine with out cheese. We picked up a copy of Uncle Sally’s, a free German magazine with gigs and music articles.

We made our way back to Access on the M4 tram, and this time it was open. The whole place was dedicated to metal, and the walls had dark murals, upside down crosses and Moterhead posters to set the scene of brutality. access metal bar, berlin

The bar tender looked shocked when I order a vodka soda and I decided most people just get pint of beer at a bar of such fierce mentality. Most people also probably smash their pint against their head when they finish and leave the blood on their foreheads – METAL. Did I mention I still had my sponge bob balloon with me, so I don’t think he though I was quite metal enough to hang – little does he know. We only stayed for 3 drinks or so and played a few games of pool – Mikey winning all of them. We ran out of cash so we caught the tram back to the center and the subway from there to the hostel. A tame night for such heavy rockers indeed. (BUT! We didn’t pay for the transport, EERRRWAAAAAA!!!!! METAL!)

Berlin Rock City

Berlin! It’s out of this world! There is so much important history to learn from the Germans and especially from this city. It’s a place that is in construction, rebuilding and making up for lost time. The atmosphere reeks of creativity, everything is exploding with self-expression, and the city embraces that sense of independence. It’s a liberating feeling to be here in Berlin, but it’s hard to explain what it can do to a person. Come to Berlin and see, smell, hear, feel it for yourself. I already want to come back.

Our first day in Berlin was like the first day anywhere, we were just trying to get our bearings, figure the city out. We stumbled upon the Jewish museum, not to far from our hostel. The architecture of the whole museum is meant to make visitors feel disoriented and lost. A few parts of the museum had an open ceiling, making the place even less comfortable due to the freezing wind blowing it. Everything was cement, the walls and ceiling, so it was a cold, dark and depressing – exactly like much of the unfortunate Jewish history displayed in the museum. I found that the more disturbing instillations really confronted the viewer with the disgusting reality of the genocide during WWII, an exhibit called Fallen Leaves in particular. It is a dark room with metal disks piled across the floor. The disks represent faces and visitors are encouraged to walked on top of them. It gave the unimaginable sensation of walking across hundreds of dead bodies and once people start walking on them, the silent room fills with the noise of the metal clanking against itself, as if the dead are not quite dead yet, moaning and suffering while they’re stepped on. It’s horrifying.

fallen leaves

Another instillation, a maze of huge cement blocks with dead trees growing from the top is displayed outside. It creates a sense of confusion and disorients people walking in the maze.

Jewish holocaust memorial
mikey in the maze

Once we had gotten into the “permanent” exhibition, I was told I had to walk all the way back to the cloakroom and check my water bottle (it was pretty much empty and disguised in my hat). The guy was pretty rude about it and the whole way back to the entrance all the other employees were giving me the eye and pointing me back to the start. The asshole has told everyone working in the museum that I had a bottle of water (sorry guys) with his idiot walkie-talkie. It was really awkward and I finally just found a trashcan and dumped it. ANYWAYS…It was definitely a place to check out, you could spend all day there if you wanted to read everything, but a lot of it can be skimmed over and get tedious after a while. It’s not a holocaust museum, although it does have many emotional holocaust pieces. It’s a museum dedicated to the complete history of Judaism, offering information of Jews in the renaissance times and other periods where they have been the victims of prejudice. It’s interesting to see that they have always been people with superb trading skills, thus making them successful business people from the beginning of time. Unfortunately, their success made everyone jealous and that’s where a lot of the hatred began – idiot human race.

After the museum we walked the 20 or 30-minute journey back to BaxPax. We thought about finding a metal bar, but decided we were too lazy and instead just went out in Kreuzberg, the part of town we’ve been staying in. We only made it across the street to the infamous Kreuzbuger. Kind of expensive but really delicious burgers of all types, tofu, chicken, beef, you name it. I think it might be a completely organic restaurant too – there are natural food and Bio (organic) shops on every corner, it great. The cold and the museum had exhausted us so we gave up and played pool in the hostel – as it turns out, Mikey is a pro pool player and I absolutely suck. It’s a good thing I like a bit of competition.