Dogs of Berlin, Germany
Berlin was a completely different setting to where we have been. A total melting point of people and times. Walking through the city, you’re constantly reminded of its past but you can also see where it is heading in the future. We visited the East Side Gallery, the longest standing stretch of the Berlin wall which once separated East and West Berlin. The wall is covered in street art which contain a variety of perspectives of the wall and it’s fall. Standing behind the wall in a now converted beach bar in the middle of the city, was an interesting experience knowing what would’ve happened if you were standing in that very spot 25 years ago. At Checkpoint Charlie (the crossing between East and West Berlin) bricks are laid in the ground along where the wall once stood.
The holocaust memorial was a somewhat creepy experience with tall grey columns which get higher as the ground beneath your feet dips lower and lower. You cannot see or hear the rest of the city from inside and the exact right angles where the narrow rows cross saw us bumping into people we didn’t even know were coming. The memorial itself is open to many forms of interpretation. Some say that when the wind blows very strongly, it whistles inside the memorial which some say sound like people screaming.
Berlin’s future path is a bright one. With amazingly beautiful tree lined streets full of restaurants featuring cuisines from all round the world, lots of amazing vintage shops, the biggest flea market we have ever seen (about 1km long!) and the regeneration of a lot of the soviet controlled districts. Dogs are everywhere – in bars, on trains, at the markets which even featured a special “hunde bar” (dog bar) next to the human bar. We loved the sign we saw on the U-Bahn (the Berlin metro system) which showed “No eating, no drinking, no smoking, DOGS ALLOWED.” Pugs (called “mops” in German) seem to be a huge hit over there. We saw lots of pug themed shirts, bags and logos. We even bought one of the pug shirts for ourselves!
Cycling round the city which is completely flat and bike friendly was an amazing and beautiful way to get around!
Rufio has plenty of presents when we return. We bought a very cute hand made collar from the Markets by local designers Emma & Bruno and plenty of Ampelmann goodies including a plush toy and a bandana. The story behind the Ampelmann (meaning “traffic light man”) is that this was East Berlin’s traffic light signal. After reunification the unified government attempted to standardize all signage indcluding traffic lights however whether it was because it was an important remaining part of East Berlin culture or if it was just kitch, there was a campaign to make sure the Ampelmann weren’t replaced.
We just arrived in Nice, France. What an amazingly beautiful town! We have never seen water so blue! We will update you all soon