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Berlin, without return (and other stories)

I think my “sickness” largely has to do with me perpetually scared of leaving a detail out. Never mind that it’s probably a minute detail that won’t matter in the long run, or that it’s likely that nobody cares about the small detail, even though it always seems important to note, at the time. Anyway, that’s my excuse re: perpetually! late travel recaps. I used to just constantly be updating people, even if it’s about dumb stuff that happened at school. I guess the internet turned very weird when I wasn’t looking? It doesn’t feel the same way to me anymore, but I guess most things rarely do.

In case everything I’ve said wasn’t much of a preamble (which, let’s be honest, the entire paragraph hasn’t been very adequate), this post is going to be about Berlin. Which was a trip that happened in August/September, and which I’d posted about previously. I have other plans for my stories from Berlin and elsewhere, but in the meantime, here are some favorite moments.

“Berlin, Without Return…” by Voxtrot

Just realized that I’m gonna need another post, though… We were in Berlin for a fairly long time, so this is going to be fairly long, but still incomplete. (Sorry! In perpetuity!) I think I’ve gotten better at editing myself, though. I can’t say if that’s at all accurate.

Lollapalooza for New Order and Radiohead — right after Prague! Likely the reason we went back to Berlin early-ish. I’m so not equipped for whole-day festivals, even as the youngest member of our party, so I’ve learned to pick my battles and just show up when I want to.

First day with my dad and brother. We didn’t catch a lot of acts and mostly went for New Order, to be honest. Which was worth it, obviously. The highlight is them playing “Temptation,” because it’s my dad’s favorite New Order song, which was a late discovery for him, presumably because he was a new dad in the ’80s and could not, therefore, partake in the era’s cultural joys, since he was too busy trying to look for ways to feed his growing brood.

He skipped out on Radiohead the next day, and predictably, I whined about not being in the mood to go (I am always “in a mood” when I get stressed out on vacations—again, sorry in perpetuity), so my brother went to watch without me. But, I ended up taking the bus to Treptower Park and catching the latter half of their set. It was way less stressful than when we watched them in Florence, probably because I wasn’t trying to fight off angry Italians.

The Berlin Wall — which we met at various points of the trip (photos in another post, I guess?), but this part is from when we went to the Topography of Terror. Basically, it outlined the rise of the Third Reich, and I was mostly alarmed at the parallels and echoes to that of our current situation. A mix of fascination, and sadness, and dread. Would love to have a place like that here, the land prone to forgetting.

Boros Bunker — The Boros Bunker was built in 1941 as an air-raid shelter that was subsequently occupied by the Red Army to house POWs, and then used as a fruit warehouse (earning its once-upon-a-time name, “banana bunker”) and then transformed into a sex den/fetish club, among other things. It’s now privately owned and houses part of the Boros art collection. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures, and you’re taken on tour in small groups, so someone’s always potentially watching. Beautiful space and collection, must-see if you’re there and can manage to get a reservation! (Info here.)

Beng’s exhibit — in conjunction with Berlin Art Week, my sister’s residency culminated in a group exhibit with her residency mates. Very proud of this baby bean.

Sherri, Nathan, Antonia, Carmo, Isabel, Imogen

Berlin Art Week — For Berlin Art Week, we only caught ABC and Positions.

Bauhaus Museum — again, no photos allowed, and the place was a little bit on the small side, but the exhibits had a wide range and you got a free audio guide that had a buttload of information. Beautiful building, too.

Allied Museum + German-Russian Museum — We first went to the Allied Museum, which was full of so much paraphernalia and ephemera from the Allied powers but then a lady who was working there said they had a sister museum that focused on the German-Soviet war in the ’40s. It was located in East Berlin, so we took a bus, and even though they’ve been pretty much a united state since the ’80s, being in a pretty suburby area of the east side was still an eerie feeling, for some reason.

Tempelhofer Feld — A pre-war airport that’s no longer operational, Tempelhof Airport is now used as a recreational site, where people can skate, walk their dogs, fly kites, and have picnics. In 2015, it was announced that the airport building itself was to be used as an emergency refugee camp.

The Berlin Airlift Memorial was close by.

Buchstaben Museum — where old signage goes to die. They were in the middle of moving from their previous location, but the place still held its charm. By paying for the full fee, you’re given a ticket that’s redeemable within a year, I think, so you can come back. (Info here.)

I’m probably going to put up a different post or something on this place; I took so many pictures.

Berlinische Galerie — one of the more contemporary art spaces, I feel like. There was an exhibit on Dada, as well as a few unfamiliar-to-me names. The place looked small-ish from the outside, but there was so much to see inside, as well as a couple of smaller exhibits/shows, which was great. We actually found this place by accident, sort of.

Beng and I were supposed to meet up with our parents and brother at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, but we pinned the Jewish Museum to the map instead. Luckily, they still had time to change their route (and we went there afterwards).

Someone asked me how I liked Berlin, and I said that I probably liked it more than New York, which was a big claim to make (I ♥ NY, etc. etc.) but was true at the time. Even with this long post, which is painfully incomplete and, as it is, very, very succinct (by my standards!).

I love Berlin, and I didn’t even have Sarie‘s magical Bon Iver-Vincent Moon-Michelberger craziness. Berlin seems to be a city that’s always changing—you know, doomed to be the place that’s “always becoming, never being”—but I hope to come back to it at some point, even though I probably wouldn’t recognize it.