May 12, 2017
TLB enjoyed the brisk morning with a walk to the Brandenburg Gate, our first stop of the day. Taking the scenic route through Tiergarten Park, we let ourselves absorb the refreshing sensations of nature.
Arriving to and seeing the gate for the first time prompted us to witness a piece of important history in Berlin. The short film and self guided museum experience was a special reminder of the complex European history in this metropolitan and fast-paced city. The history film, although receiving much criticism from the group (outdated content, unclear message, disregard for the museum space, etc.), was interesting to see the gate personified as a character, being used and abused throughout hundreds of years.
Shortly after, the group took a train to Mitte, where we found ourselves in a small alley hidden in a busy street. The alley was a unique moment in time where we experienced an unexpected silence. The alley, filled with graffiti, sculpture, and installation art, contrasted the preceding hours of lush scenery, grand monuments, and crowded intersections. We then dropped in the Museum Blindenwerkstat, a small exhibition displaying artifacts that helps tell the story of Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind during World War II. It was an even quieter experience of the day to reflect on humanity and compassion during the war. Further down the alley, a tiny movie theater revealed itself behind thin trees and vine-covered walls. A very quaint theater that only has two rooms, and shows a range of independent German films (Kino Central). Finding this place was a pleasant surprise for many of us, because it makes one wonder why and how a theater found itself nestled in a unique space with furniture made of old roll film backs and rusty art sculptures.
Today, I took closer notice to how we interact with the city. It seems that Berlin encourages us to participate with it in order to get better understanding of its beauty. The towering trees of Tiergarten, the Brandenburg, the excluded alley in Mitte, provoked imagination of what more we could find. Today allowed for an appreciation for small spaces and spontaneous interactive experiences to let our minds quiet down for a little while.