“One of the things I love most about Germany, especially Berlin,” he said, “is that it acknowledges its wrongdoings and the people try their hardest to make up for the sins of their grandparents.” And I knew then why I felt so welcomed and why so many of my friends, Jewish, Black, Asian, and the others loved visiting over and over.
Visiting any place in Autumn is dangerous because you will see it at peak dopeness, and it’s just not fair to the other seasons. Berlin in Autumn is perhaps one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited, excluding Burlington, Vermont, which has my whole heart every Autumn. It’s impossible to avoid the ugly history of the city, and perhaps that’s partly why the city is so amazing and so beautiful.
1. Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe is probably my second favorite monument in the world. The intensity of the stones, how they grew taller as I walked between then, how the sun created heavy shadows, and how folks appeared and disappeared quickly in the spaces was hair-raising.
After taking Ms. Price’s German Class for 2 years in High School, I thought I’d know more than how to ask for a toilet, but I was wrong. The language is hard, but much more beautiful than when I mock it. Talking to some amazing folks in the streets and in coffee shops, I think I may give the language another shot, at least for conversation purposes.
2. Checkpoint Charlie: A cool piece of American history in Berlin. It was the American crossing point when the Berlin Wall was still in place. The little security shed is still there with a few signs for nostalgia’s sake and probably a KFC nearby (probably my favorite “hold me over” fast food spot in any country). There are soldiers (perhaps fake) in place who will gladly take photos with you and for you.
3. Monument to Homosexuals Persecuted by Nazism in Tiergarten Park reminded me why I fight for the happiness of all people. No one should ever be persecuted because they want to be happy.
4. Eastside Gallery: This place is a great memorial for freedom and also houses the longest stretch of what’s left of the Berlin wall. Walk along, see the art covering the wall on each side, get your passport stamped with the old Berlin stamps, and see just how much freedom has evolved.
I had a great time wandering around to the vintage clothing shops, checking out the cool fashions, and buying nothing because I’m so cheap. Getting lost in a city while on the hunt for things you like is amazing because you get to see street art, talk to strangers and practice your learned language, find street meat you’d only see Andrew Zimmern eating, and stumble upon great stories to tell.
5. Tiergarten: 630 acres of nature, monuments, fountains, stones, and art. At night it looks like a Law & Order set location, but during the day, you’ll fall in love with it all.
6. Tajikistan Tearoom: If you love tea like I love tea, you’ll like this Asian-influenced spot! Take a break from the walking, and enjoy a cup of Golden Monkey perhaps.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to catch the sunset I wanted while there, but I made up for it in other places. However, I did compile a list of the greatest places to catch the amazing sunsets happening in Berlin almost daily. Or hell, if you simply just want to catch a great view:
A. Humboldthain Flak Tower
D. Kollhoff Tower
E. Prussian National Monument
Foodies Unite! You know I love food, and I attempt to try the Pho in every country and city I visit, but this time, I made an exception. Perhaps the strangest thing I had in Berlin was a Kangaroo steak from an Australian restaurant (of course) in Potsdam Plaza. But, there are so many great things you need to try, so allow me to help you a bit.
8. Must Eat Foods and/or Restaurants:
A. Wiener Schnitzel: because you simply must. It’s the quintessential German food perhaps.
B. Gemusedoner (With Chicken)
C. Currywurst from Curry 36
D. Pork Knuckle (Side Note: I Don’t Eat Pork, But My Friends Love It)
E. Konigsberger Klopse are meatballs that are so much better than the ones your aunt makes for family reunions. Best place to get them is Max und Mortiz (Kreuzberg)
F. German Donuts! German Donuts! Also known as Pfannkuchen! These filled delights are freaking amazing!
G. Apfelstrudel because anything with cooked apples is delicious.
Don’t forget the museums, the walks along the rivers and streams, and hopping on the trains without paying. What a time we had, and I will definitely return in one of the coming Autumns! Come with!
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.