Off Berlin’s Beaten Path: Part 1

Do you ever have a stop on your itinerary that doesn’t get you all kinds of excited? Berlin was one of these stops for me… for no real reason either. This was my first time in Deutschland, and maybe my lack of knowledge about the city was the reason for my vanilla vibes? Who knows! What I do know is that Berlin was all kinds of wonderful. The place is a melting pot; of people, cultures, cuisine and history! The art scene is edgy, the people are edgy; it was like no place I have visited before.


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You will notice a line of bricks that exist where the nearly 100 mile Berlin Wall once stood.


Our German host family lived about an hour S-Bahn ride outside of the city center, and due to this we only spent 2 days downtown. On day 1 we visited the Holocaust Museum; The Memorial To The Murdered Jews Of Europe. My trip up until this point basically chronicled WWII. From Normandy, to Brussels, to Amsterdam, and now Berlin, the scars left by the war were found everywhere.  The experience that I had at the Holocaust memorial was humbling. Spending nearly 3 hours reading through letters from victim’s to loved ones, reading accounts of what went on in the concentration camps, meeting families through pictures and letters from all over Europe and beyond who were affected by the tragedy, who lost their childhoods, their families, and their own life. I was emotionally drained by the end of my visit, wondering how humanity allowed this to happen… how did we let this happen..  how can humans be so evil? It is heavy stuff. Important stuff. I learned more on my trip about the history of the world than I have ever learned before. We cannot let this happen again.

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“It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say.” – Primo Levi, Holocaust Survivor

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On our second day, we decided to participate in a free walking tour, an alternative, subculture tour! Woohoo! Something fun and light and different. It was AWESOME! Who knew that Berlin’s art scene was so badass? We walked around for hours, visiting artist squats and multicultural communities, all while hearing about the different wall and street art techniques and styles. So much art promotes peace, justice, unity and love. All the art was gorgeous, and using the wall as a canvas, turning something with such an ugly past into a place to spread positive vibes was uplifting in itself! The Berlin Wall went up in 1961 to separate East & West Berlin during the Cold War. The Wall was demolished in 1989 and was followed with the reunification of Germany. I was shocked to see that fragments of the actual Berlin Wall are still standing throughout the city. I am going to split up all of my photos from the alternative subculture tour into two blog posts; Berlin Wall art, and Berlin street art.

Berlin Wall art is featured below. So much to see, such little time!

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Peace Now

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Please Mr. Gorbachev, Tear This Wall Down!

Stay tuned for more on Berlin’s street art scene, coming soon!

Thank you for visiting, Guten Tag!

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14 thoughts on “Off Berlin’s Beaten Path: Part 1

  1. Holy moly. It sounds like you made the absolute most of every minute you spent in Berlin! I was there 30 years ago, before the wall came down, so that’s the city I still picture in my mind’s eye. It was really fascinating to see it through your eyes, though — as a vibrant, edgy, young, thriving city. Great post; thank you for taking me along on your adventure.

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    1. Hi Heather. That is amazing that you actually were able to visit Berlin before the fall of the wall… It must have been such a surreal experience, and most likely very different from what I experienced on my visit. It puts into perspective how much can change in a short 30 years! Thank you for visiting! 🙂

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  2. I never would’ve though of Berlin as such of eclectic and artistic place full of diversity. Very interesting and eye opening…Great post!
    Love all the street art and the way they have incorporate pieces of the Wall throughout the city. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Hello there! Great post and blog. I noticed you mentioned something about staying with a host family. How long did you stay with them? I was just interested because I’m going to be living with a host family for around 2 years and was wondering what your experience was like.

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    1. Hi Ciara! Thank you for stopping by! And how exciting that you are on the path to becoming a PCV, that is so amazing and I will be following your journey the entire way! I have lived with a host family many times, 2 times were 5 months each, and the other times varied from a few days to 2 weeks in length. The experiences have overall been great! You will also have a great experience! The only advice I can give you is to try and stay as open minded and flexible as possible. Not all moments are comfortable, and you will mostly likely miss your privacy and freedom at times. Although this can be tough, because you are entering someone elses home, and living the way they live, it will make your time more enjoyable if you try to be as easy going as possible. Also, I would say to let your host family treat you as their own child, which they will do! Always trying to feed you and give you advice! All you can do is listen and accept! 🙂 If you want to speak more in detail, let me know! I can give you my email and we can exchange more information! You are going to do great! It is amazing to get to know and spend time with different people in different places! You will definitely have many stories and many memories! Some will not be funny at the time, but I promise they will make you smile to think back on! 🙂

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      1. Thanks for the insight into your experiences with host families. I have lived on my own since I was 18 so, it’s going to take some getting used to living with people and not being able to walk around in a towel after a shower haha I would love to talk in more detail about your experiences.

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