by Stephanie Gilmartin in , ,

If you're into history holidays, Berlin is your dream location.  We went to a lot of great (if at times depressing) museums/exhibitions when we were there.  We watched

The Lives of Others

before we went, which made it all seem scarily recent.

What was really interesting, though, is that for all the bad rap that old East Berlin gets, it's SO MUCH MORE FASCINATING than West Berlin.  We only really went to West Berlin once, to check it out, but it's all so gentrified/globalised that there's not much to see there that you couldn't see at home.

East Berlin, on the other hand - all the Western museums would have you believe that the people there were terribly oppressed and had horrible lives. We went to the Kreuzberg museum though, and it just didn't quite ring true. Kreuzberg is pretty hipster and has been compared to NY's Lower East Side in the 70s/80s.  The Kreuzberg museum has a cool exhibit where you can listen to stories from locals using an iPod app they've made.  You get to listen to stories about supermarkets being looted and everyone laughing about it; old people loving the punk squatters in their building for bottling the American GIs who were using their flats for rifle practice; how much the locals hate the gentrification that's threatening to sap Kreuzberg's radical spirit.

So, sort of like the East side of every major city then.  I really, really hope they never get too far East.

Anyway, here are some pictures:

[Holocaust Memorial]

[kissing crocodiles near Unter der Linden, East Berlin]

[Bits of the old Wall, near the Topographie des Terroirs.  Graffiti presumably from the West side - don't think you could get near it on the East side, since there was a massive death-strip.]

[Maybe someday]

[Barcelona chair, Mies Van Der Rohe, Bauhaus museum.  Imagine how big Bauhaus could have been if the Nazis hadn't shut them down.]

[Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp]

[The Reichstag - free, but you need to register in advance]

[Checkpoint Charlie - majorly touristy]

[You are leaving the American Sector]