Tuesday, August 18
After an interesting night in a 10-bed mixed dorm, I woke up pretty early to get my day started. I wanted to take a free tour called the “Alternative London” tour. They advertise it for free because they know a lot of backpackers are on limited budgets and the tour guide only gets paid what we give him in tips.
With that said, I believe free tours are THE BEST! This means that the tour guide is driven to give a tour based off of his passion for the city and what he wants people to know, not off the conventional informational tour, where the tour guide recites a script of very mainstream sights. This tour was definitely different and so amazing. The tour guide was awesome and started explaining the street art of Berlin. There are TONS of street art here, mostly because it was a way to rebel against the government and unite in a way that explained their political views and backgrounds. I can completely understand why this place is so important in European history, and why the people here are amazing. Our tour guide brought us to strange areas that you wouldn’t think had a lot of history (mainly because Berlin is a pretty poor city and their buildings and areas aren’t always nice), but ended up having some crazy back story that always had a main theme. The point was that the people of Berlin are a very political, left-winged, creative, and boisterous community of people who found their voice through art and music. We ended up at this Jamaican bar, since he said it was his favorite place ever. I just admired his passion and the knowledge he had of Berlin. I ended up giving him a 20euro tip, because that’s how much I thought it was worth and he deserved it!
At this Jamaican bar or YAAM (Young African Art Market), is a beach bar on the river bank of the Spree. They’ve imported sand to have a nice beach bar with basketball, table tennis, football, dancing, art, concerts (Ty Dolla $ was going to perform there this weekend), and food! I decided to stick around for a while and had a drink and decided to get some jerk chicken–my favorite. As I went to sit down, a young African man who is one of the many Africans that hang out there decided to eat next to me. He was very nice and we started to have a great conversation. His name was Omar he’s from Gambia and he came to Berlin to have a better life. He said that he loves it here and that it’s where all of his dreams come true. He was very friendly and I can see why the tour guide loves this place: the people are so friendly, it has a great vibe, and you can just sit there for hours and not realize that you’re spending time there.
After an hour or two, I finally left to see a part of Berlin wall still up. The tour guide had explained a lot about the divide the wall had on the city, and I wanted to see it for myself. This part of the wall had of course graffiti all over it. It was a very bland wall (other than the beautiful art spray painted on to it). After checking that out, I hung out, walked to the Holocaust Memorial, and went to bed early. In the morning I had to get onto a flight going to Amsterdam!