All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

Solitary Wanderlust – Finally, Berlin

With my first full day in Berlin under my belt, I am sitting at my apartment window watching the (German) world go by.

How can one fall in love with a city only after 24 hours? Yet I somehow feel connected with this place. This place called Berlin.

For one, she is utterly beautiful and feels like a hive of creativity is brimming at every surface available. I felt safe here the minute I stepped foot on Berlin ground. I couldn’t say the same for Athens even after 3 weeks there.

Granted, I am currently residing in an affluent part of town so the ghettos and utter cacophony of the Athens street lifestyle are far away. I am sure there are areas like that throughout Germany and Berlin.

Today I set about to acclimatise myself with the public transport system. Purchasing a ‘Welcome Card’ for 32 euro let’s me travel wherever I want and however many times I want for 4 days. The card also gives you healthy discounts at the tourist attractions throughout the city.

Language is a barrier here. Whereas in Greece and Athens every single street sign, and every single sign per se, was written both in Greek and English. Every announcement on the train etc was also in English and Greek. Not so here.

I don’t think these stubborn German bastards would dare have the English language written on their signs so it can be a challenge working out what to do and where to do it.

First on the agenda, head on down towards the Berlin Cathedral. Google Maps advised the best route was via the tram. But how does one get on the bloody things? I asked a serviceman if he spoke English. “Some!’ He said. So I asked, how do I get on the tram? “Station! Station!” He pointed.

I quickly realised he meant ‘tram stop’ so I looked for the signs for the M1 Tram and found it.

Too bad I was heading in the wrong direction so I quickly got off and proceeded to catch the next tram heading in the opposite direction.

A pleasant tram drive stopped just before Hackescher Markt and I quickly noticed that this place had a bit of a hipster vibe. I noticed a bunch of people congregating in an alley so I tagged along. I immediately felt like I was back home in Melbourne. A graffiti strewn alley that looked like a cross between Presgrave Place and the glory days of Hosier Lane.

There was some amazing street art on offer so I spent a bit of time documenting as much of it as I could. Great spot this!
I could see the top of the Berlin Cathedral off in the distance so I knew I was in the right location. Dodging the oncoming rain (I got positively soaked, but what are you gonna do?)

My jaw dropped to the ground at the sight of the Cathedral. A veritable floating island and a sight so majestic as you just cannot fail to be impressed. It was and is and ever shall be STUNNING!

I made my way inside and the interior is just as impressive as the exterior. You can’t help but literally behold at the sight before you.

I made my way through the cathedral and then downstairs to the catacombs where many dignitaries of the German Catholic Church are laid to rest.

Quite creepy I can assure you but some of the sarcophagus were intricate and ornate works of art. Incredible to see.

I briefly stopped for a nice brew of German coffee at the Cathedral cafe and when I got back outside the rain was now plentiful. I pulled the hoodie over and just kept on going. It is not as if I am going to be here every day and besides, I wanted to see and spend some time at the Ramones Museum.

The Museum is a little out of central Berlin so I had to catch a train for a 20 minute ride to the museum’s location.

Another brisk walk for a couple of kilometres and I found the place.

With a cheap 3.50EU entry fee, or 5euro if you want a drink too, the owner passes you a Ramones Museum pin and you are on your own to explore the most incredible, most amazing collection of Ramones memorabilia and paraphernalia you are likely to ever see! Fantastic stuff!

Berlin day one! Done!

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