Berlin! Berlin! Wir fahren nach Berlin!

798 Views - Published on - July 13, 2015 by Raza Ali

Probably I should had skipped Berlin for some later time. I think the happening in Copenhagen was a sign. But my stubbornness drove me into Berlin early in the morning. You might not call 8:30am as early morning. But after the golden fun in Copenhagen, believe me it was too early.

And guess what? The arrival was not so pleasant as well. There is no free WiFi at the bus station. Or let me correct myself. There is free WiFi, but to use it you must have a German mobile number (French and Swiss numbers will also do). Now what can people like me do, who do not have a German number? Well the European Reich has endowed freedom upon such people: freedom from internet slavery.

Alright, I am still not so tech savvy as to lose all hope with the loss of internet signal. I can still use a hardcopy map. I even prefer hardcopy maps. But dear Germans forgot to setup an information counter at the bus station also. And please let me rewind a little bit and tell you that the bus, which I took from Copenhagen, was operated by a German company (Flixbus) and very interestingly this bus did not have WiFi also. And please do not think that there is some problem with WiFi access in Germany. All other bus companies provide such facilities for their customers (Swebus, Eurolines, Ecolines etc.). So either the German businesses are too greedy or the Reich has something against the provision of free internet!

However, I did not come to Berlin to be annoyed. Accepting my fate or the fate of my useless devices, I recollected myself, forgot about the deficiencies and got ready to go to the town. As it was early, I definitely wanted to have breakfast. But, the option available at the bus station was not so attractive. So I just bought a bottle of water and went out to explore the town, as people did it earlier, without apps and tips.DSC_0238

I soon found a place to take breakfast. The hot coffee faded away the remainder of nectar effect and I was ready to meet Berlin!

Now fellas, if the first and most important German phrase for you is not “Das ist fantastisch”, then you must have had a very boring childhood and youth and you should not have Berlin on the itinerary. But if the reminder of the word Germany or Berlin rings a “Ja, ja” bell in your ears, then Berlin is your LSD.DSC_0244
But in the daytime, people expect to see other things. Yes, you are right. There is the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag Building, Komische Oper Berlin, Neue Wache, Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alexander Platz, Berlin Cathedral Church, DDR museum and tons of other landmark buildings and spots. But to see those, you have to come yourself. All I can do is to show you a few images. And please remember, those of you who want to visit Berlin from the comfort of their couches, there always is the almighty Google.
But for me there were other important and very important things to notice in Berlin. First of all, there still is a difference of ambience between the eastern and the western parts of the city. I think this difference of ambience is specially kept to earn money for the city. My point of view is corroborated by the presence of flocks of tourists, right on the eastern side of the gate. On the roads leading to the Brandenburg Gate from the western side you just see tourists moving in one direction. But on the eastern side, you will see them, taking photos, drinking beer and doing all sorts of things. Probably the majority of tourists were from Wisconsin, because they seemed to have not noticed that DDR and FRG merged into one single state more than 25 years ago, because most of them looked around with astonishment as if they had crossed the wall with a day permit and were scared of missing the return journey.

I was amazed to see that the Germans were still able to sell supposed small pieces of the Berlin wall glued to postcards. And they were successfully selling Erich Honecker and Brezhnev’s kiss. Well now I have understood that Germans are not only good at building and engineering stuff, they are also good at selling.
And fellas, I also came to know here in Berlin that the US of A, as a country had also come out of the closet. How did I notice it? Well see the following image and if you would not understand, what I meant, don’t bother.

As it has been all along the course of my present journey, the sun bestowed its best on me in Berlin. The day time temperatures exceeded 35OC making it hard to keep on admiring ancient Egyptian art in Berlin. I can only tell you that the amount of water, which I had to buy, lightened my pocket considerably. Strangely enough in a city where you can buy a 0.5L can of beer for just 60 cents, a 0.33L bottle of water costs 2 Euros or more.
But once again, probably the cunning Germans, were exploiting the situation, because if you are a tourist or let’s say if you are out in the street, you can drink water without any hesitation, but drinking beer on the street might be against the regulations.  Believe me there are many places in Europe, where you cannot drink beer unless you are in a café or bar etc.
While I was passing through the Großer Tiergarten, I saw people sitting in the park and drinking beer. Their cans and bottles were not even covered with a paper bag. Then I sat down at a bench and guess what I noticed? There were three men sitting on a bench across the alley and they were selling beer out of their iceboxes. While I finished my coca cola, I took a good look around and saw many people enjoying heaven. This aroused my beer loving soul and I went up to a group of young people and asked them if it was legal to drink beer in the parks or on the streets? And can you guess my delight, when they told me that it was perfectly alright to relax with a bottle of beer in a park, as long as you did not litter. My next question was: “Is there a supermarket nearby?”
Oh my friends, I cannot tell you how relaxing and comforting it is, on a very hot summer day, to drink ice cold beer, sitting under the shade of the trees, looking at the ducks in the pond, flowers in the alleys and pretty young girls roaming around.DSC_0254
Now it was easy to tell you what happened in the day, but what happened in the evening and the night remains a secret, buried deep in my heart and memories. And don’t even try to ask. I will not tell you.
I can only say that, when you plan to visit Berlin, do not make the mistake, which I made, coming to Berlin for a short span of time. Don’t stop in Berlin on your way from somewhere and to somewhere. Come to Berlin and stay here. This place can amaze and amuse you in many ways. The Berlin nightlife scene is very Berliner. So if you are a party person, come join the joy ride in Berlin!