Acazia Official Germany Blog – Bangin’ Berlin

When morning came, I could finally see the splendor that was the capital of Germany; Berlin. Draped in history, from hundred year old churches and cobblestone roads to remnants of the Third Reich and the fallout of post war Europe, everything came to life.

 Eastener Hostel is located in the heart of the city. A few days into my time there, I decided to do the free walking tour (mostly because it was free) which started at the Brandenburg Gate. On the way, I walked passed a marching protest of some kind that trained down many blocks. I couldn’t understand what they were screaming and shouting about, but as with the train police I ran into a week before, something about a mob of angry Germans feels a little… stereotypical.

The walk lasted just under two and a half hours and veined through the streets of former east and west Berlin. From the gate, we walked to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is an amazingly simple yet emotional cemetery like formation. Nearly two thousand not engraved slabs of stone are situated there with some short enough to sit on and some rising high overhead. Further on was a parking lot, just a simple parking lot where we stopped. Our guide told us that directly under our feet was a bunker that had been buried and sealed off, and in this bunker, the war in Europe ended.

Further on we passed another imposing building cut with harsh angles and was a drab grey; the last imposing structure of the fascist regime. In Germany, denazification aimed to clear the county of any and all nationalist socialist ideology. This one building still stood, as it was necessary at the time. It’s seen today as an eyesore and is one of the most hated buildings in Berlin. Not because it used to be the headquarters of a fascist leader, but because it’s now the tax office.

What remains of the Berlin Wall is less imposing than it once was. With scribbles of graffiti, holes in the concrete and a scraggly mess of rebar, it’s now no more than a relic of the days of separation. Families picnic in the park adjacent to masonry of malice and political fears. We passed Check Point Charlie, but didn’t stay for long. The last thing to see was the square; the plaza where the book burnings of 1933 took place. There was an underground memorial beneath a plane of glass for the books themselves that could be seen from city level; empty bookshelves. Across the road, the university holds a daily book sale, in honour and remembrance of when its former students destroyed their own library.

So some things to note: Firstly, have I mentioned how cheap food is here? If you’re smart and shop local, you can eat for less than $7 a day (or under $200 a month) German windows open as normal from the side but can also pop open from the top. Some toilets here DO have ‘examination plates’ (I’ll let you look that up) Children run around unsupervised here. I stood at a crosswalk with a boy, no older than 10, with backpack on and snacking on treats. He made his way down the road more confidently than I did. A pack of six blonde girls sat and played on the sidewalk in the middle of downtown, with hurrying cars and trains only a few steps away.

Amongst the people I’ve met in my hostel of course include the manager who gave me the tip about the previously mentioned walking tour; a cool Polish dude who suggested some excellent places to see in Poland, and some to avoid, if I ever go that far east; and an older generation British guy who snored like a chainsaw, told me about all his previous travels around the world and who was only casually racist. There was even a night were the other three beds were empty and I had the room to myself.

I’ve seen the Reichstag and taken walks in parks. I’ve been around town, been to a museum or two with fantastic and historical exhibits and spent a full day curled up in my room with work, music and audio books. Over the last two weeks I’ve finished 3 chapters of Acazia: SoC and plan to keep up with at least one chapter per week. If I can do that, my second book may be done by the end of the year.

Berlin’s been fun, so I think I’ll stay another week. I’ll go to another hostel just a few km down the street. At least the bag-o-bruises doesn’t have far to go this time.


  • Ray

    Berlin is a place of immense importance in terms of history, and you getting to visit is awe inspiring. I am so glad you are taking the time to see those historic locations, and take images for the rest of us to see. The Bendler Block where Lt Col Von Stauffenberg was executed for facing tyranny was heartbreaking, a Lt taking the bullets meant for him. The inevitable took place and standing in that spot was emotionally powerful. I hope you have time to visit it before taking your Bag-oh-Bruises to your next destination. I loved reading about your experiences in Berlin, I was there when the wall came down and my last visit was in 1993 during the Soviet Union draw down. Your picture of the wall brought back many memories for me, and it is a testament to the horrors of war, and the division of people by force. I knew you would be able to eat on an inexpensive budget there, and I am sure that you will thrive as you know how to stretch a dollar!!! I am proud of you for finishing 3 Chapters in record time!!! Traveling must be giving you just the inspiration you need to move forward!!! I cannot wait to see where you land next! Rock on Ty!!!!

  • Your Biggest Fan

    What an incredible post, Ty! There is so much history throughout Europe and you have given me a front row seat to Germany through your words. I cannot imagine being in a place that has seen such horror and is still recovering in some means… case in point your story on the book sales as a reminder of all that was lost. As both of us are avid readers and writers, we understand the impact and weight of burning literature. Gone forever may be some works, and that is tragic. You have also seen the progress a society makes as its people tear down boundaries and unify themselves and that is the marvel of human tolerance and expectance. I can feel the emotion in the history of Berlin by your recants. So thank you for that!
    I am glad you are finding your way and sticking to your budget. That in itself is worthy of sharing to other travellers and your links will help others seeking a nomadic existence, no matter how brief, an idea of how to do it.
    So happy you are finding the time to get Acazia: SoC written and it is just as amazing so far as the first. We cannot wait to read more. Make sure you find the balance Ray and I spoke about. Beautiful pictures as well. I cannot wait to hear your tales of week two in Berlin with your bag o’?

  • Jody

    Hi Ty!
    I really look forward to your blog every week. There is so much history there, and your recant made me feel emotional reading it. Thank you for adding your humorous touch to it. I actually laughed out loud in the hotel lobby were I was reading your blog, and I got a lot of stares and strange looks from people checking in and out for the day. I am so proud that you have 3 chapters already!!! That’s amazing! I can’t wait to get back to Acazia and see what’s unfolding. Take care of your bag-o-bruises.

  • Linda

    Hi Ty
    How fantastic to hear about your travel to Poland and the gentleman who told you some tips. It was also good to hear you have completed three chapters on your next book. WAY TO GO ! THUMBS UP !
    I had watched a documentary once which was on the war and the blank slabs in Poland and found that quite emotional and, I can see how being there in person would be the same.
    My step father was a peace keeper in Germany and we were in Germany when the Berlin wall was erected. I was too young at that time to realize its implications !
    Can’t wait to read your next blog.
    Love you. Happy travels.

  • Grandpa

    I look forward to reading your blog and hanging on ever word, wishing I could be there not just through your eyes. Your words make me see it all so clearly. Wow Poland, so much history, traditions, and terror of the recent past. See the good and meet all the wonderful people.
    Keep up the writing on book #2, well done.