No matter how big a team you put together, even if you have a plethora of words or an unlimited amount of time; if you’re posed with the challenge of reviewing a city it’s a fairly mammoth task. How on earth do you summarise its entire geographic, historic and cultural information all into, in this particular case, one e-Book? Quite simply, the answer is you cannot. Therefore, we set out with a slightly different intention. We want to provide you with ‘The Bigger Picture’. Rather than just listing the magnitude of events and activities available, our goal has been to convince you as to what makes Berlin so uniquely special to visit. Thus, we’ve hunted down and presented the perfect blend of attractions and places to visit that replicates our experience of this incredibly diverse city.
It’s near impossible to even begin describing Berlin without mentioning its history. Although long-spanning, the amount that has occurred here in just the past century alone is vast and incomparable to nearly any other place in the world. Modern-day Berlin is surrounded by its past, largely because in most instances, it occurred not so long ago. In our Brief History section, we’ve provided a timeline of historical events and information which will help you gain a full and comprehensive understanding of our recommended sites, allowing you to appreciate their relevance and purpose in the city’s current culture. For those of you whose time in Berlin is fairly limited, we’ve created a Survival Guide which includes an item named: ‘24 hours in Berlin’. Spanning from 09:00 until 09:00 the hypothetical following day, we’ve crammed in as much as humanly possible so that even if you’re short on time, you’ll see a large proportion of what the city has to offer and already be desperate to return for more.
We’ve also included some essential information to make your time here run as smoothly as possible; we want you to be focused on absorbing the palpably thriving atmosphere rather than on the comparably smaller details. For instance, there are some key German phrases, details on Berlin’s Accessibility provisions and longer features on Public Transport and Accommodation, so that it’s far easier for you to decide where you want to stay and the best way to navigate to all our must-see locations! Once our feature has helped you get to grips with the city’s transport network, look out for station and route details on each of our reviews.
This is then followed by a little context. We state the district in which all these attractions fall, but in relation to Berlin as a whole, what does that actually mean? We want you to start to get the feel of what a particular event or landmark will be, just from noting the area in which it’s located. Henceforth, there are brief profiles of all the city’s key districts, with some background information about their beginnings and development, as well as a general sense of their atmosphere and culture.
Okay so by this point, we think you’re ready to start exploring. As much as possible, we’ve attempted to strike a balance between the past and the present; the historic and the cultural, the mainstream and the alternative. Our intention, again, is to provide you with a guide that truly reflects the Berlin you will be visiting. It’s not necessary to stick to the beaten track and simply see the Brandenburg Gate, the Berliner Dom and Museum Island. At the same time, you shouldn’t reject these entirely and remain solely within Berlin’s underground scene, hunting graffiti and chasing shadows in Kreuzberg by night. Although seemingly opposing sides and ideals of the city, they in fact coexist and help each other thrive: the past highlights the liberalism of the present and the modern culture has only developed because of the historic events that fuelled drastic change. Instead of merely scraping the surface, we think we’ve provided enough variety for you to sink your teeth right into the centre of Berlin, which is a molten mix of sight-seeing, clubbing and everything and anything in-between.
In addition, there’s also a section on some potential trips to undertake that are only a short distance away and, in regards to painting ‘The Bigger Picture’, we really feel they add to the landscape of Berlin and its role in the sociocultural development of Germany as a whole.
Then finally, you’ll briefly get to meet us! Who we are, a little about our lives and our ‘Most Berlin Moment’: the located fragment of time when we felt we had finally become one with the city. Essentially, our aspiration was to provide you with the true image of Berlin. One that’s not fragmented or divided (as it once was) but as a whole, albeit slightly stitched together and disjointed, picture. It is not a realist piece. It is utterly surreal and unconventional. It marries together styles, morals, cultures and ideologies that should not co-exist and function competently. And yet they do and it really does work. Oh so well.
Berlin is a living piece of experimental art. Its aim and purpose is often confused and misunderstood but what it’s trying to do, and what we hope to assist you to see, is that it is trying to paint an all together much bigger picture.