Berlin was never a part of the plan. Yet, here I am. It is a detour in route to Prague, but even with this I intend to accomplish something. My desires are simple; friendship, the Berlin Wall, and kebab. Everything else is extra for me, so as long as I achieve these 3 things I will be happy.
I told this to my host who laughed at me. Within an hour of arriving I had already taken a kebab, and now with my continued rambling about hatreds of tomatoes, it seemed I was making a new friend.
"Ok, ok. I can see you are quite specific," she says. "Why don't you take the free walking tour tomorrow? It passes by the Berlin wall, and you can see a few other things."
It seemed like a good idea. She would be working until the late afternoon. The tour could at least give me a chance to see the wall, and to find some friendship.
I arrived at the meeting point for the Alternative Tour of Berlin. Our guide, Dora, explained that we would pretty much see nothing typical of Berlin tourism, and that we should leave now if we were expecting an explanation of Checkpoint Charlie.
Our tour will take us through the history of street art in Berlin. She takes us into Kreuzburg, which is also known for being the Turkish district. She explains how the immigration process began, gentrification, but most importantly, the history of doner kebab.
"Yes, it is a traditional meal from back east, but they didn't have the same ingredients when they arrived. So the used what they had, and in 1967 the doner was born," says Dora.
"Best tour ever," I say with a smile.
We continue buy viewing some of the most famous street art exhibits while inrepreting their meanings. Some years ago berlin invited the worlds best street artists to paint their walls. The results are quite evident.
During the tour I began talking to two Dutch, Lucas and Mariska, and two Turkish guys, Amhet and Ezhan. We all decided to eat something afterwards and take another look at the Berlin wall. I had just eaten a delicious kebab the night before, but all this talk of historic kebabness has me ready for round two. After the tour we find the nearest doner shop.
It is glorious. One thing more beautiful than having a kebab on an empty stomach is to share the experience with others. Their satisfcation adds to the experience, as we eat into the afternoon.
Ezhan begins talking with the shop owners who are also Turkish. He is able to get some complimentary Turkish tea for us to try.
All of us add a little sugar to it and begin to mix. The spoons clang inside our glasses in unison, making an almost melodious sound.
"Haha. We're all clanging toghether," I say.
"In Turkey you can hear this sound everwhere," says Ezhan. "It's like music."
Our symphony has ended. Nothing like a little food and music to bring people together, while heading to something that was built to keep people seperated. The East Side Gallery portion of the Berlin wall is a fasinating testament to the power of walls. It's fall symobilized a change in pace for the entire world, and of course the reunification of Germany.
Apparently, landowners will demolish the rest of the wall in order to build some new structures. New condominiums seem to be more important that a homage to social triumph. People are fighting to keep this part of history, but I fear that in a couple of years it won't be possible to visit this place. I take a stamp on my passport as a souvenir of the old age. At least, if it's demolished, I will remember.