Yesterday I must have walked down Berlin’s most visually unappealing street: The Invaliden Strasse. One road-work sat beside the next and most of the facades where covered up or just not that much to look at … and it was loud. To be fair I think it may only be a temporary phenomenon but not very inspiring none the less.
But maybe I should start at the beginning and explain how I ended up walking down the Invaliden Strasse anyway. I had decided to visit the “Gedenkstaette Berliner Mauer” (Berlin Wall Memorial) that stretches along the Bernauer Strasse. If you have ever seen film footage from the 60s of people jumping out of windows to escape from East into West Berlin it was taken there.
After WWII the Bernauer Strasse split the French, English and American Quarters from the Russian one and on the 13 August 1961 the SED (the ruling communist party) bricked up all the house windows and doors facing into the west and started constructing the Wall.
Streching over 1.4km, the memorial is a combination of leftover relics of the time (1961-89) and modern reminders of what happened.
After walking around the impressive and interesting memorial I couldn’t help but fall into a contemplative mood. And as I strolled away from the Bernauer Strasse towards the Hamburger Bahnhof (Bahnhof means Trainstation), Berlin’s main contemporary art museum, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the noisy, dusty and unpleasant atmosphere of the Invaliden Strasse. But in between the road-works I found the impressive Museum of Natural History and the Humboldt University and finally reached the Hamburger Bahnhof.