Germany - finally the capital: Berlin
Updated: Dec 11, 2021
Early morning in Hamburg it was raining heavily. We packed the car, picked up a friend at a different hostel and together we drove to Berlin. It was a pleasant drive with lots of rain and heavy winds. Autumn definitely had started! Half way, already at the former eastern part of Germany (well, still it is the east..... geographically speaking - I should better say soviet part), we stopped for a much needed coffee. Markus was surprised. He has heard many stories of me about the eastern part still being different, also the people are different (not all, but the majority). And bang... now he knows what I was talking about. It is different.
But this is somehow also very nice. After about 3 hours and a traffic jam just as we entered Berlin, we arrived in our hotel in Charlottenburg. Lucky enough there is free parking everywhere and we even got a space. We settled in our clean hotel. It was a cheap deal at a decent 3 start hotel. Nothing special - but big rooms, clean and comfy bed and a big hot shower. All we needed. We walked around Charlottenburg a little bit. It was the former western part of town with some nice houses. There are a lot of restaurants with streetside tables. It was a bit too chilly to sit outside but it made up for a nice atmosphere. And we found a fantastic simple vegetarian indian restaurant. A big thali for only 4,50 Euros was a deal. And it was delicious. We even enjoyed a wonderful chai. That was a nice start. We continued our walk further into town and finally reached the famous shopping street of Berlin: Kurfürstendamm. We walked along the Ku'damm, how it is called, a little while. It was nice - the big old trees with colourful leaves, heavy winds and sometimes some sunshine. There were not many people around. So it was a nice first impression of Berlin for Markus. I, Nina have been here twice before. But to be honest, I had mixed feelings of coming back. It was not my favourite town - a lively, interesting town with many contrasts, many nationalities for sure. But somehow, there was nothing special that attracts me and I always had strange feelings while in town. So far everything was fine on this visit.
In the evening we went to the Malzfabrik in Berlin Schönefeld. This is a cultural center in an old industrial building - simply amazing. They offer a lot of spiritual activities, have a wonderful urban garden, have photo exhibitions and rent locations. The reason why we went there was that our spiritual master Paramahamsa Vishwananda gace a talk together with Bernd Kolb about Bahrman and Atman and the wisdom of life. I was asked by the organizers to film the event. Of course, I was more than thankfull and happy to get this chance. It was a wonderful evening. Especially as Paramahamsa Vishwananda talked about his early childhood. We both have heard a lot of stories about his life, but this was the first time we heard it personally from him. It was a great night with lots of interesting people in a fantastic location.
Next morning we started early as we wanted to see a lot of the city itself. By car we drove to the Potsdamer Platz. We left the car in a secure parking (we have been warned even in Charlottenburg to keep our car and things safe and not to take any valuables around). Berlin is not a safe place at all, so better be sure. In the area we first went to a lovely café for a vegan breakfast. Filld up and ready for the day we looked around the huge square and Markus touched "the wall" for the very first time. And I had the same feeling as last time I visited Berlin: the wall, the history and all the past made me incrdably sad and heavy. OK, I have studied a lot of the german history. I have seen so many films of the times around the second world war. But I was born later, in 1973. Still, I think I must have lived before because it is always really touching me. Strange. Well, we continued our walk to the Holocaust Memorial. For me it was shocking to see so many asian tourists jumping through the pillars there, making fun of the situation and taking funny selfies. OK, we are not responsible for the things that happened at that time. But still, this is a memorial for thousands of murdered people - not a place to take funny selfies......
Our next stop was the Brandenburger Tor. From far we could see the Tiergarten and the Siegessäule. It was busy at the Brandenburger Tor, a lively atmosphere we enjoyed. Close by we came along the Reichstag - the seat of the german government. A lot will happen here in the next years I think...... We will see, in which direction it goes. Further on we went to the river Spree - a beautiful area. We continued our walk on "Unter den Linden" till Fridrichstrasse from where we walked to the Gendarmenmarkt with the french and german Dom - a stunning square and wonderful buildings.
We continued to Check Point Charly, the famous checkpoint at the times of the wall in Berlin. Here things got worse for me as well as Markus. I did not say anything, but I felt really depressed. Then Markus said to me that he is really feeling strange and could hardly breath. He felt like the atmosphere in the area was to heavy. Ok, we quickly decided to walk back to the car on Potsdamer Platz. For that we came along the "Topography of the Terror", a square with a big part of the original wall and a description of all that happened around. It
must have been an area where lot of people died in a very crucial way. We just wanted to run away. And this is what we nearly did. Finally we reached the car and were really surprised. We have never felt something like this before, both of us. It was interesting but scary at the same time. So we went back to our hotel and got ready for the afternoon. Our spiritual master gave Darshan in Berlin Moabit. So we dressed up and drove to the event hall. It was a big Darshan with sooooo many people. But it was wonderful again. A lot of new people came and it was wonderful to see how excited and happy they were. In the end, long after midnight, we were all dancing and singing together. What a great night with our spiritual master. It was already the 5th dashan in 10 days - no wonder our hearts were open and we could feel the energy in the afternoon.
Next morning it was already time to pack our things again. We put everything in the car but not before also paying the eastern part of Berlin a visit. We drove from Charlottenburg through the rougher area of Kreuzberg. OK, Markus again agreed that Germany is different here in some parts of Berlin (and we even did not got to Neukölln or Marzahn where it is worse!). We visited the area of the East Side Gallery where the wall is painted by different artists. It was by far not such a heavy energy as we had experienced the day before. From there we continued to Prentzlauer Berg. This is a nice region full of little cafés and restaurants and artists. We had breakfast there walked around a bit before we finally left Berlin heading down south.
Berlin is an incredably interesting city. It is big, it is every changing. It is exciting. But it is also rough, the history, for us, was really hard to take in. It is depressing. It is not one of our favourite cities, but still interesting to see and experience. We had a rollercoaster-like time with 2 wonderful evenings with Paramahamsa Vishwananda, interesting things to see, great vegan food, but heavy historical moments and a really aggressive kind of energy around (no wonder with this history).