One of the places you have to visit is Alexanderplatz. It is the site of so much history, in particular the Alexanderplatz demonstration on 1989, just before the wall came down. Over 1.5 million protesters gathered in what was the biggest protest ever in East Germany, so of course it was somewhere we had to visit.
But we were somewhat startled to find that we had stepped into a very large African market. We (purely by chance) selected Africa week to visit Alex, so the square was fulled with African goods for sale (think Greenmarket square or Long Street in Cape Town), and African bands playing on the stages. It was fun and entertaining, but not quote what we expected in the middle of Germany.
I love this idea – roaming hot-dog sellers. I found this particular “outlet” on Alexanderplatz, or “Alex” as the local’s call it. But they are all over Berlin. And at ER1.70c for a hot-dog they are excellent value, and they taste excellent as well. If you’re ever in Berlin lookout and have a hot-dog. You’ll enjoy it.
While most of the Berlin wall has long-since been removed, there are a few places where sections have been preserved, in particular the East Side Gallery is a 1.3km section of the wall that has been turned into an outdoors art gallery. We only walked a small section of it, but they gallery goes on forever. There are a total of 102 paintings, and these are just the few that we saw. The gallery is something that you must visit in Berlin; the art is though-provoking and interesting.
It was two years later that the wall went down. The Brandenburg Gate was build in the 1800’s, and has often a site for major historical events, including the above-mentioned speech. During the cold war it remained closed as part of the Berlin wall, and now it symbolises the unification of Germany.
Its a truly grand structure to walk under as you wonder from the beautuul buulevard of Unter den Linden to the Reichstag parlimentary buildings.
Currywurst is one of the strangest things to come out of Germany. Of course Germany is famous for its sausages, but how on earth did curry-flavoured sausages become such an institution in Berlin?
Supposedly in 1949, a German called Herta Heuwer obtained tomato sauce and curry powder (yes I know my colleagues from Kolkata will cringe at the words “curry powder”, but such it is in Europe) from a British soldier, turned it into a sauce and started it with sausages to locals. And from there it spread all over Germany.
Personally, while I love German sausages, and I’m a huge fan of Indian food, I’m not sold. The flavours are a little too different for my taste. I’ll eat one or the other, but not both at the same time. But when in Berlin, eat as a Berliner.
You can read all about currywurst here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currywurst