ERASMUS STORY: BERLIN

“MUSTAFA HAS THE BEST DÖNNERS IN GERMANY”

I’ll always remeber Berlin as a city from a movie We children from the Bahnhof ZOO.

At the age of eighteen, I visited Berlin by coincidence. I have just finished high school and won a prize-winning excursion.  I and few other lucky people were put on a bus and sent on a trip to Berlin. At the time, thanks to my knowledge of the German language, when I searched for a post office (I needed the stamps to send postcards), I ended up at the underground instead of a post office. I perceived Berlin as this cool city. Dangerously cool. Oh, how I wanted to live in Berlin then.

Even six years later, I was visiting Berlin by clean coincidence. The Slovene-American alliance decided to test the claim of our American Erasmus colleague, who lived in Berlin at the time. He was in addition to linguistic research, mainly researching German culinary. “Mustafa has the best dönners in Germany.”

The Flixbus ticket to Berlin cost me € 8, bed in ∞ bed room in the hostel because of late booking over € 20 / night, the fact that this was my last free weekend before the exam period was invaluable.

Berlin has everything. It’s trendy. It’s multicultural. It has a loooooot of history. Even the history that Berliners don’t want to remember. In Berlin, you just cannot be bored. Even if you are there (as was I), for the second time or even a millionth time. Some attractions are simply a must. The Brandenburg Gate and the seat of parliament, the Checkpoint Charlie and 2711 concrete blocks, as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. There is also the famous television tower on the Alexander Square and for all art lovers one and only Museum Island. There is always something to do.

But all of this was in the shadows of the main event, trying the best dönner in Germany. Although we went there in the middle of the day, after few hours spent in the collections that showed life in East Berlin, was there already a line of people. We had to waited for an additional hour to finally got our lunch.

During the week, we expanded our culinary research to a place where you get an extra good burger (as is said by American!) and on the place where you can find the best ice cream in Berlin. Sometimes we were even too hungry to take a selfie with all this food.

I managed to visit two other tourist attractions. My favorite monument, the memorial church of the Emperor Viliem or Der Hohle Zahn (A hollow tooth). Ruins of the church bell tower that was destroyed during the bombing in World War II. There is also a new church that was built after the war and could not be any more different from the old one.

And the East Side Gallery, the largest open-air gallery and a true monument to freedom. The Berlin Wall collapsed on November 9, 1989. It was consisting 45 tiles of concrete slabs, each weighing two and a half tonnes. After the fall, artists from around the world painted 105 images on the section along the river Spree. It took us more than an hour and a half to walk around. The most famous among the art works is probably a painting of a socialist kiss between Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker with the title “My God, help me survive this deadly love”.

The wall still divides people’s opinions. It has changed over the years, thanks to erosion, vandalism and simply because of the teeth of time. Some people say it should completely disappear so that Berlin could finally be united. Others are against this and also against renovations, saying that it is impossible to repeat the feelings artists had experienced during the first painting. The dilemma is eternal, Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper, German art historian, says: “If we want to leave the wall untouched, the original paintings will soon completely disappear. If we want to preserve paintings, we must restore them. But if we want the gallery to be a vivid artistic reflection of our time, the old originals must be covered with new originals. “

Has Mustafa the best dönner in Berlin? Is Burgermeister really the best master for burgers? And what about the Hokey Pokey ice cream at Stargard Strasse? I don’t know, maybe. For me, the dönner is still kebab, and the burger is just a burger, sometimes good, sometimes not, and its taste also depends on the company you are eating it with. But for sure, the special spice on the burger is the last free weekend before the examination period.

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