I’m about to go to Berlin for a long weekend with a good mate, something I did in late 2004 with another friend. Once again there will be the familiar hike to an airport specialising in budget travel at an ungodly hour with the prospect of little leg room when on board the plane but I have done longer flights in worse conditions so important to cling on to such positives.
From the trip seven years ago I remember much walking around in a slight daze due to late nights in East Berlin bars, a seemingly continuous hunt for retro Adidas trainers and a trip to the Olympic Stadium which would host the World Cup Final two years later. We were lucky that a German friend of ours who had lived in London was back in Germany for a while and was kind enough to take us around parts of the city we would never have stumbled upon otherwise. Her language skills were also very handy to call upon. I wish she could have been around on the evening when I found myself in strange hybrid of a petrol station and bakery with hunger pains in my stomach. Whatever it was I bought after pointing at things behind the counter definitely consisted of some pastry but the meat contained I couldn’t quite place leading to a rather unsatisfactory late night snack. Food issues aside I romanticised about Bowie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop re-igniting their muse by recording there whilst always seeming to have the Leonard Cohen song First We Take Manhattan and in particular the following line “then we take Berlin” going round in my head. I also went to the top of the Fernsehturm Tower where you get a deeply impressive view of Berlin by day. Unfortunately I went at night and managed to get a view of street lamps whilst dropping my camera and inadvertently taking a photo of my shoes. I won’t be doing that again if I can help it. Dispatched reports from Berlin 2011 to follow.
Berlin is an amazing city – I hope you have fun.
Here are some pictures of East Berlin in 1971 which you may or may not be interested in:
I find them fascinating!