"Life is a journey, not a destination" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Life is a journey, not a destination" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Berlin: On History Lessons and Street Art

So this post is a little late, but I still have to tell you guys about Berlin. Such an awesome city with so much history. You can't beat seeing remnants of the Berlin Wall and standing on top of the spot where Hitler's bunker used to be (now just a parking lot for some apartment buildings).  The city publicly and openly displays its history from WWII and the Holocaust. They are not proud of this history, but they share it vulnerably and without shame. It's amazing to think that the city's history is so recent too. The Berlin Wall fell exactly 22 years ago. For most of your reading this, that's probably within your lifetime. Crazy. And the story of how the wall fell is pretty amazing (look it up for yourself and have a little history lesson if you don't know it) and it really shows how the people of Germany are passionate and tenacious.

Berlin is a really alternative city. Most Germans (including Berliners) would say that Berlin is unlike anywhere else in Germany (I would say it's unlike anywhere else in the world). It's not your typical Bavarian style Germany (besides the food: mmm Brautwurst and Currywurst). But the city is alive and constantly changing. The people are down to earth, orderly, and fun-loving.

My favorite part of Berlin, besides the history, is all of the art. There is, of course, the East Side Gallery. This is the longest remaining portion of the Berlin wall that has now been turned into an international memorial for freedom full of paintings from artists all over the world. It's so beautiful that these cement slabs which once stood for division and power are now a work of art. One of the most famous paintings is the "Brotherly Kiss" by Dmitri Vrubel:

Berlin also has the most amazing street art. It was especially cool when I started to notice work by the same artist in different areas of the city. Artists anonymously leave their mark all over the city, some making political statements, others just for the sake of public art.

One of my favorites: Little Lucy (upper right) was always finding clever ways to kill her cat

Street art is alive and always changing. Since artists are continually painting over other works, a wall may completely change over night.
I could have spent so much more time in Berlin, just looking at all the art, learning more about the history, and shopping in all the awesome second-hand shops. Berlin, I will definitely see you again one day.

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