So i promised to continue with the blog about my Berlin trip. And this will be my last entry for that trip. I wanted to touch on a few things i left out in my last blog about Kreuzberg.
We covered a lot of things those 5 days we spent in Berlin and i felt we did almost all the things we set out to do. Even if 5 days is not enough to completely cover and larger city to be honest.
I already told you about the fantastic tour with Brian , and exciting and exotic Kreuzberg. So what more did we see, well i would not do Berlin justice if i left out our trip to Sanssouci i Potsdam.
That was something i decided upon after we realized trying to squeeze in a quick trip to Auschwitz would not come to fruition. It would have taken too much time from our schedule, so i thought Potsdam would at least be something where we have to leave Berlin and go outside but not be too far off.
Also from what i heard it was a magnificent place to visit. It took about an hour to go there by train, the day was very hot once again but this time i prepared with better sunscreen to save myself the horror from last day to Kreuzberg!
We arrived in Potsdam and had to take the bus the last bit and it was not a very pleasant experience to say the least. It was packed to its limit with people going to visit the castle and gardens.
The only positive thing i can take from it was a very very nice older couple from Usa that i had a chat about many things before finally arriving at our common destination.
Being somewhat late we almost did not get a ticket to the castle itself, and standing in line to buy it took about 40 minutes itself, and while waiting you could see the number of tickets available getting lower and lower making everyone in line anxious not to get one before it was too late. We were lucky though and got a family ticket which was pretty expensive!
Also after getting our tickets the waiting time to actually get into the gardens and see the castle was 1 hour. What to do? Well, we decided to get something to eat and had a look around. There was a cafe/lunch place linked to this interesting looking Windmill just across the ticket office. As with everything else around this area at this time it was crowded and we knew we had to fight to get somewhere to sit while eating.
The food was not horrible, but made without ANY love at all, and a lunch sallad consisted of a plate with some cucumber that was hacked and some weird ham sprinkled on the side. And for that we payed a horrific price. So stay away from that place, just have look at the Windmill afterwards instead. You can go inside and get some historic facts about the Windmill and surroundings.
So when the hour was up we started making our way around the gardens and Castle, which in the end made it all worth it. The surroundings are breathtaking to say the least. I just wish it would have been a little bit cooler and it would have been perfect. I was on the brink of dehydration but my wife and son was worse than me. Still we managed to find some shadow in between. It is actually a substantial walk, so be prepared and bring water and maybe something to eat.
We stopped at yet another cafe at the second castle which was the kings ”vacation” house( a pretty fabulous summer place !). The prices were not better there, so stay away from that place as well. I can see why people feel they have to go in there though as there is nothing else around to get something to eat or drink.
You can also get into the Vacation castle and look at the rooms where the prince spent his days. The rooms hav different themes and are spectacular. I remember 2 specific rooms where the themes were the sea and animal kingdom, and in the sea room the walls and ceiling was covered with seashells that made up everything. Statues, paintings, everything was made out of the shells almost. Amazing. The creativity was really cool to see. Unfortunately you could not use the camera inside.
After that we spent the rest of the time in the gardens before we went home. And as i said, almost the gardens by itself would have been enough for the trip there.
here are some shots from there and around the castle Sanssouci ( which means ”without troubles” basically ).
After we got back from Sanssoucie we had a few days left to go around and do some shopping and see the rest of the more well known places inside of Berlin.
And i made a mental note to spend a few hours at the Hauptbahnhof since i know it would be a great place to tak some pictures at. I heard many photographers went there just because of the architecture of the place but also a busy train station is a great place for watching meetings between people and seeing stories unfold while you document it with your camera.
We actually had out hotel just outside the Hauptbahnhof so i knew we would have some time just before leaving Berlin, so i saved that for the last day.
Other than that we just had a blast walking around Berlin with nothing really planned those last days.
Nang enjoyed shopping at Ka Da Wee which is one of the most famous shopping malls. Huge place, but nothing for me. I think nowadays those malls look the same wherever you go in Europe. Nothing special any longer.
Also we briefly saw the Bombed out church which stands in the middle of Berlin and the shopping streets, quite close to Ka Da Wee actually. It stands there as sort of the last monument to remind the Berliners of the horrors that comes with war, and they had decided to leave it as it is as that reminder forever. We also had time for a boat trip our last day which i felt was not really necessary since we already saw what we wanted to see. It was kind of fun seeing the places we walked by from another perspective though and also going by boat like that the city get compressed since you go around everything much faster. The service and prices on the smal sightseeing boat was pretty bad though.
So, last hours before leaving exciting Berlin i spent at the Hauptbahnhof shooting some, and i felt that was a great ending to this magnificent trip.
I am definitely going back there some day. And next time I’m planning to go by Poland and see one of the camps there. Its something i have to do.
But i will also go back to Berlin itself for its originality and people. Because i felt like it although not the most spectacular sights in the world, it had a pulse and diversity i really really liked.
So, It was going to be hard to top the tour we made with Brian on the next day. But i know Kreuzberg was high on my list of places to visit before leaving Berlin.
So we decided that going there was dedicated to a whole day traveling around in Kreuzberg but also doing some shopping( to keep everyone happy!) and some ordinary sightseeing.
We were not sure what station to go to exactly just where the boundary for the Kreuzberg area started and ended. that left quite a few stations, but we decided on one that looked to be in the heart of it.
That station was Hallesches Tor and proved to be way of our mark off course. In hindsight that was actually a good thing it turned out. That way we got to walk through a large part of Kreuzberg and see a lot of amazing street art and other pretty cool things. The words cool and amazing were not the words my wife would use to describe Kreuzberg though and she was longing for the more ”safer” areas around Tiergarten etc as soon as we left the subway platform.
Already outside the station there was graffiti and street art all around to see. Sure the area was a lot more ”rugged” and poor than the other parts of Berlin we had visited thus far. But i loved it. And know i would love taking photos there.
But i would not go there during the night or late evenings even in some way it would have been cool to see that aspect of Kreuzberg as well. That would not be recommended with your family in company though.
Even so i enjoyed the walking across Kreuzberg a lot. Meeting interesting people, seeing great art that covered almost every corner along the way.
One thing we completely forgot before this day was to bring some sunscreen. So i went into a small local pharmacy with probably the most shrewd sunscreen seller in the whole of Germany. I asked for a good sunscreen that would not stain or oil too much since i had the camera gear with me and did not want that ruined or messy. She talked me into buying something far to expensive and that also in the end stained and oiled more than any sunscreen i have ever tried. So not a good deal 😉
After a lot of walking we started to arrive in the more crowded parts of Kreuzberg that were also more ”pleasant to walk around in. Lots of cosy personal shops with some pretty cool stuff to buy in my opinion. Even my wife liked it somewhat!
Very atmospheric music stores, cafes, giftshops, you name it. Anything you wanted it was there but in a much more personal way than in downtown Berlin. I would highly recommend going there if you ever visit the place. Here also all houses were in different colors and made the whole area feel very different and inviting.
We spent almost half the way wandering the streets of Kreuzberg, and i snapped a lot of shots there, using mainly my 24 lens since of all the architecture.
I also passed a very cool camera shop that specialized in Leica( what else!), that also made me want to be a millionaire the next time going there. It was a really special shop though even if you did not buy anything. Just browsing it was cool. Also the Dj shop posted a photo of here was one of the cooler Music stores i have ever been inside. It was not a huge place, but all the Vinyl and art on the walls and the atmosphere there made me want to stay there for several hours.
Im glad we did even if it left you sad and empty afterwards. Still, it is just a place you have to visit, you owe it to yourself if you are into history and also owe it to the people lost in the horrific time that was during the holocaust. The structure itself was almost worth seeing because it was so out of place in the middle of Kreuzberg.
The inside had a very special layout of rooms that sometimes just were filled with empty space and voids to let you feel or not feel for yourself how void the world had become after loosing so many lives in the holocaust. It was a pretty powerful thing.
The thing i recall the most and that left the biggest impression on me afterwards besides all the testimonies from people telling their horrific but interesting stories, was the ”fallen leafs” room and monument. A memory of the victims of war. Something to make us NEVER to forget the atrocities of war.
After that we went and had dinner at an asian place in the centre again.
And discussed all that we had seen that day and planned ahead to our coming trips to Potsdam and other places in downtown Berlin.
All in all, a fantastic day in interesting Berlin.
Just a quick post about traveling and gear, as a follow up to my last post about reviews and gear.
It is summer here in Sweden, and a few new trips are scheduled this semester . I will obviously bring a camera to these trips, but one of the constant dilemmas are what to bring and how much you should carry with you to maximize your photographic experience and get those money shots with you back home.
The last 2 trips i skipped all my heavy gear after a trip i made to Rome a year back. It was a great trip, but i had backspins and shoulder pains a while after because of bringing too much stuff. Also before that i only had my D700 and brought that with lenses for all my trips.
It was after that i got my X-T1 and lenses and bringing that to Paris for 2 trips was just a joy. So light in comparison! And still got great pictures and had fun shooting with it.
Now i also have the pleasure of choosing between that and my Nikon DF also. So now the X-T1 have a serious competitor for me since it is also lighter than the D810 i will most likely leave back home for the more serious assignments.
So, what do i bring for my Berlin trip this Summer? Any suggestions?
I have sort of made up my mind about what house i will bring actually, and it will most likely be my DF, and i am still contemplating what lenses i will bring. They will have to fit my new Lowpro Flipside sport 10L bag. So about 3 lenses. No zooms. So will be 1 wide lens, one normal, and also some sort of tele.
it is a nice dilemma to have though. Summer, photography , choosing what to bring for my trip. Life is good right now 🙂
Do not burn yourself!
/Over and out..