Berlin is different from Sweden in every way possible. It has grit and stories to tell. Berlin is a city that's been destroyed and rebuilt, but you'd never really know.
This is part of a project called Stolperstein by artist Gunter Demnig. The gold stones represent the individuals who were victims of Nazi oppression, including the Holocaust. The 50,000+ stones have spread across 18 countries in Europe.
With much of Europe the major cities are old and beautiful. They have and will always be. Rome or Paris or Amsterdam, you know exactly what you're getting. With Berlin there wasn't much left after all those wars and walls, so they had a chance to start over and make it be whatever they pleased. Wide sidewalks. Sprawling subways, Thorough bike paths.
They've also handled their past with a sort of humor. A building that used to house Luftwaffe activity is now used as the equivalent of the Germany IRS. The area where Hitler's bunker was, is now just a parking lot for nearby apartment buildings. But what past was there, was really incredible to see in person. The Berlin Wall came down 26 years ago, and it was a major historical event that I never experienced. All of the terrible things that happened in Germany, are incredible and fascinating in the most horrible ways.
Our major discovery of Berlin was the Döner Kebab, the late-night meal of Europe (i.e. delicious drunk food). I'm determined to find this in Denver. Also, Spätzle was pretty interesting...
Favorite night in Berlin involved a night out with Woody's friend at a hip-hop bar. A house band plays beats, and anybody can come on stage to sing or rap along sometimes even as a "battle", but more collaborative. Between sets, the best of the 90's/00's hip-hop/rap music would play. Loved seeing how this music transcended beyond the expected audience watching literally every type of person jamming along.
Berlin was nothing like I expected, and I can't wait to visit a different location like Munich, Cologne, or Frankfurt to compare the variety of Germany.
Next Up: Prague, Czech Republic
See those rounded metal pieces at the top of the wall? They were designed specifically so that the human hand could not grip around it to escape. The design was further tested with Germany Olympic athletes to ensure that even the most fit people failed. Even if you got to this wall, it meant you jumped over the first barrier, ran through a sand pit, and also avoided gunfire from guards in towers nearby.
This is Currywurst! Essentially a sausage/hotdog-esque meat with ketchup and curry powder. A staple of Berlin.
An afternoon stroll through Großer Tiergarten.
This is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. It was designed by Peter Eisenman. According to his project text, "the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason."