Thursday, September 24, 2009

ich bin berlinerin

Traveling is tricky business. If you have the time, you don't have the money and if you have the money then you don't have the time. If you have both, then you married well. Congratulations.


Berlin.
Do I like the place? Sure.
Do I love the place? Hmm...

It suffers from an identity crisis, I think. Maybe it is my Americanized view of how a capital should be or could be, but Berlin is half a historic site and half an impressive modern capital. There are tall buildings here and there, taller monuments (and a very tall TV tower which was my (0,0) when walking around the city). Washington D.C. made up its mind, it seems, to be a historic site. The city is clean cut, most buildings are constructed in mud-colored stones giving off a wise-with-age city feeling. Possibly because so much of Berlin was reconstructed to look like how it used to, the city seems like it lost some of its charm. The imperial government building, Reichstag, is complete with tall Romanesque columns, sea-green domes that I've now come to associate with Berlin monuments and a resplendent lawn. If this were Washington, the Reichstag would be surrounded by statues of important people or at the least be free of metallic clutter. Right behind the Reichstag is the huge metal sphere that looks like Atlas shrugged right on top of the building and the white crows (yes, white) of Berlin picked at it till it had enough holes to become a spherical sieve. There is no coherence, no flow in the design. To make matters worse, the Reichstag is adjacent to the Bundeskanzleramt (the Federal Chancellery building), heavily glass clad and cement reinforced into simple straight lines, which is a striking contrast to the rich textury walls of the parliament building. You can't help but walk away thinking "Hmm... if we could put the Reichstag waaaaay there... they would all look better."

After five days of internet-independent, I-trust-you-have-a-ticket-so-I-won't-check faith, classy jewelry, paid toilets with fantastic toilet paper, supremely good coffee, credit card unacceptability and perfect weather, I decided - Ich liebe Deutschland.

Color: Sea-green
Song: Resurrection fern (Iron and wine)