A fellow traveller friend that I had met in Thailand told me that could stay for free at a squatted factory building he knows in the city of Berlin. I’d never been to Berlin so I took him up on the offer, and headed straight there shortly after my trip.
The building has been squatted by artists and students since the 1960s and it was located in Kreuzberg, one of the most popular parts of the city. I have to admit that I lasted only one night it the squat and decided to check into one of the Berlin hotels in the area.
Kreuzberg is a bohemian and trendy part of the city, and it is very popular with artists, students and media types. The area has many fascinating attractions that are often off the radar of the majority of tourists that visit the city.
When I first arrive at a new place, I like to just head out without a map and get lost, which is how I spent my second day in Berlin. Kreuzberg is incredibly beautiful, especially along the Landwehr canal where there are several nice cafes and public houses. I headed to the place where Checkpoint Charlie had been, before taking a walk alongside the Berlin Wall. I stumbled across a fascinating museum called the Topography of Terror that is located at the site where the Gestapo and SS ran the Nazi campaigns of repression during WW2. It has permanent exhibitions dedicated to this, along with many others, including one dedicated to the photographs taken by Jewish people at the Litzmannstadt ghetto. This fascinating and important museum is well worth a visit.
I spent the rest of the day wandering along the Berlin wall, enjoying the graffiti and murals that adorn every inch of space. I also checked out the East Side Gallery, which is a section of the Berlin wall that has its most beautiful murals. Also, the Berlin Wall Memorial is also well worth visiting. It is a memorial to those who were killed when they attempted to cross the wall and provides a haunting insight into how life in Berlin must have been like when the wall was still in use.