One Saturday In Berlin

In Photography, Travel on September 11, 2007 by Petr Bokuvka

The city of Brno has a large number of bus lines going to major European cities. You get go home from work on Friday, have a shower and a nice dinner and then you can jump on a bus at nine p.m. You fall asleep and when you wake up eight hours later you are in Berlin, Germany. You can spend sixteen hours crisscrossing the city on S-Bahn, U-Bahn or Strassenbahn…and go back.


The Buddy bear says hello on Unter den Linden avenue, one of the major streets in the united Berlin. Once it was a dead end street, literally. At the end of it is Brandenburg Gate. Once a border landmark.


Go through the Brandenburg Gate and turn left, you will pass the Murdered Jews of Europe Memorial…and after a few-minute walk you will end up in Berlin Manhattan. The former No Man’s Land, nowadays it is Potsdamer Platz, a busy intersection with beautiful skyscrapers. A section of the Berlin Wall was kept in the middle of it. A cobblestone line goes exactly where the wall used to go…


It is really hard to walk with your eyes down to follow the “wall line” and admire the changes at the same time. Unfortunately for a black-and-white photography fan, it is hard to tell that this was the no-entry zone during the Wall times. The streets are mostly brand new or renovated. Old ruins with Russian graffiti? Nope. Another Buddy Bear as a good example of street art, this time in Niederkirchenstrasse, near Checkpoint Charlie. The checkpoint that meant the thin line between isolation in freedom and East Germany. Any person who went through was warned that…


If a tourist didn’t know the details, he or she might think that somebody really cares about their property and they built a wall to keep thieves away. Hell no. It was built to keep East Germans INSIDE, to keep them from running AWAY from their country. Bornholmer Strasse, another former checkpoint slash border crossing site.


There are three or four Wachturms left standing. The one in Kiefer Strasse near the Invaliden Cemetery stands among apartment buildings. If a sentry was there now, he could read people’s magazines on night tables. There is no sentry there. The door is locked and a sign on it offers guided tours per request. Sometimes it is more interesting to see streets in which you know the wall lead [before the streets were even built, in some cases]. And it is not that far from Bornholmer Strasse to Brandenburg Gate again.


Or to the German government buildings, where the biggest flag I have ever seen says something about the German pride. Germans line up to see the interior of their Bundestag building.


And almost on every corner and every subway station you can buy the most amazing Berlin/German food, the currywurst. To describe it simpy, a roasted special kind of a hot dog. And so the only complaint I have about the town is the central bus station (ZOB Am Funkturm). It is basically dead place after 10 P.M. Poor tourists and travellers who have to use it at that time. The only service available is a coffee machine.


5 Responses to “One Saturday In Berlin”

  1. Very nice photos. Seeing remainders of the Berlin Wall is a “blast from the past”. When I’ve been there, 7 years ago, I missed seeing these parts of the wall.

  2. […] Berlin Experience I am spending this weekend (Fri-Sun) crisscrossing Berlin. Last time I was there I tracked the Berlin Wall and what is left of it. This time I’ll spend the day searching for spots for black and white photography… A […]

  3. A very interesting article…But I have a question for you:)
    The wide picture that is situated right above the article name…is taken in Berlin, or is it depicting another city?
    It’s an astonishing picture…

  4. The header image with the blue sky and numerous apartment buildings, that is Brno, Czech Republic. The suburb is named Vinohrady (Vineyards). These are the typical concrete block buildings that one can find all over East Berlin (like in Marzahn etc.) and other former East Bloc big cities….

  5. […] One Day In Berlin: Tracing The Wall […]

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