September 2021



Ok, I have a confession to make here.

I don’t like Berlin.

To me the key points for Berlin is its history, in particular two points. First I find the Nazi regime to be fascinating-from the Nazis to the Berlin Wall. Both of them involve the oppression of people-one internally inflicted which caused the later, externally inflicted divisions, and I’m mainly interested in the later.

I can honestly say that the Checkpoint Charlie Museum is among the five most interesting museums I’ve ever been in and I don’t think anybody should miss it because it tells an amazing story about the human spirit. Additionally I get emotional each time I walk through the Brandenburg Gate as I remember its role in the history of the world.

Beyond that, Berlin has no redeeming features whatsoever.

Alexanderplatz the heart of the former East Berlin was designed and built by a communist/totalitarian state that didn’t take into consideration scaling things appropriately. When in the square, I feel incredibly small and uncomfortable.

Potsdamer Platz is, from what I’ve read, being reestablished as the heart of the city after having sat in the Wall’s shadow for 50 years. Too bad none of the original buildings were left. The new Potsdamer Platz is being designed and built by capitalist corporations that don’t take into consideration scaling things appropriately. When in the square, I feel incredibly small and uncomfortable along with the urge to destroy all things Sony.

The Reichstag, home of the German Bundestag (think Parliament), is a fantastically ugly building which sat mostly unused throughout the cold war. I understand why they haven’t torn the building down considering its historical importance, but what I fail to understand is why they stuck a Norman Foster designed glass dome on top of the building. Taking an ugly building and sticking a glass dome on top of it doesn’t make it look any better-it might even make it look worse.

In general, I find the city unwalkable, unlike Prague, Amsterdam, London, New Orleans, New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco. It’s just too doggone big!

I went out tonight after dinner, and through no fault of my own, I found myself ready to have a drink at 8:30, and where I was located meant that nothing was open, which is understandable, so I too the U-bahn to another part of town and went into a previously spotted gay bar-nothing wrong with the crowd. I stayed there nursing my two for the price of one rum and coke (which was much less expensive than my one rum and coke in Amsterdam) for an hour before deciding it wasn’t really the bar for me-I skewed the age distribution downward significantly.

In my wandering of the gay neighborhood looking for another bar, it suddenly dawned on me that I really didn’t care. I had a number of bars to choose from, and if I was willing to bide my time, I’m sure that I could have found a nice club like the one I adore in Prague, but my enthusiasm was lacking.

Berlin doesn’t have a soul.

Surely there must be an interesting large city somewhere in Germany.

I’ve heard good things about Köln-both as a city and in terms of its gay life (the so-called gay capital of Europe, but then again, I’ve heard Berlin called the gay capital of Europe as well).

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