March 13, 2015

East side gallery - sunny adventure

We had 16 degrees last Sunday. Sixteen. And sunny. Staying at home felt like a crime or at the very least a waste of the finest day we've had since we've arrived here. You can never have a good enough excuse to staying home on a sunny day - we've already learnt that in London, and it seemed the same is true for Berlin. It seemed like the whole city was out, enjoying a rare day of real spring.
We decided to head over to the East Side Gallery to cover the last bit of the wall we have yet to see. The East Side Gallery, just in case you are exactly like me and have no idea what it is, is a 1.3 km of the Berlin wall which is covered in Graffiti and paintings and is one of Berlin most famous symbols and the world's longest open art gallery. It represent peace and reunion. It is also a very good place to let the kids loose.

The problem with taking the kids out to see some artsy type of things is that they really don't like it. They get bored, the get whiney, they start touching things and the question "can we go now?" starts showing up every 30 seconds. Not ideal for walking around a museum. It's not that I don't believe in forcing the kids to do things they don't like to, it's just that it ruins all the fun when you have to run after Yon and make sure he doesn't break a 300 years old sculpture (true story). Add to that the staying-at-home stir crazy, and you get two kids who desperately need a place to run, and two parents who desperately need them to run somewhere else.

The East Side Gallery seemed like the perfect place to achieve it all - let the kids run around, not have to shout at them about touching forbidden things, and see some art and history at the same time. And it only took us three hours and four change of clothes to get to leave the house. Who knew it will be so hard to get everyone into their spring collection?
Kids in spring collection
Half an hour, 2 trains and one pair of lost sunglasses later, we have managed to get to the East side gallery, which apparently has two sides - the one everyone takes photos of, and the one we went to. But our side had a park, and the view of the Spree, and most importantly - no cars.
And in the photos you can hardly even see all the broken bottles and leftover food bits that were spread around the park. I have no idea why, but after a certain age where young people see "cool" and "trendy" and "up and coming" all you can see is - really really dirty. Gosh, I am old.

To be honest I am not a big fan of graffiti as an art form. I have always been more of a museum kind of girl, but the East side Gallery is quite impressive. The amount of time and effort that went into creating each of those paintings is amazing, and as for the message of peace an unity - how can I resist?
Yon touching the blue. He only touched the blue for some reason.
Ron said he relates to this one, as he still misses Daisy from London :)
Kids and wall
Had to put this one in, because....Well, I look so skinny!
It is a wonderful place to visit, and I can understand why it is a must in each and every one of Berlin tour guides. It is just that it is such a shame that people take advantage of the fact that it is graffiti and outside and there is no scurity and think it is ok to draw and write on top of other people's work.

Of course we toured the more famous side as well, where the graffiti was much more political and opinionated than on the other side. And also in much worse shape.

The kids had a lovely time, Yon enjoyed walking around touching the walls and reading everything, Ron tried to see all the languages he could recognise, and I enjoyed the spring and sun. We've been there for about an hour and a half before the sun became too much for Yon (it has been the first time in a very long while that we had a proper sunny day), so we haven't seen all of it, but decided it's better to stop before the whining becomes too much and retreated to the Ostbanhof McDonalds for some spring menu (well, spring drinks. The menu at McDonalds rarely changes). We finished it all with some mandatory Boston Creams (you can't really walk past a doughnuts shop and not go in, can you?).
McDonalds is so ready for summer.
As we got home, and I was fishing for reassurance from the kids that they had a good time and are not extremely upset about being forced out of the house and away from their precious iPads, Yon did stop and announce that it was our "Berlin sunny adventure" and only then rushed to his iPad.
So all in all - a success.

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