Gay Europe Ambassadors Find Berlin's Heart and Soul
By Kevin Forsyth and Kenny Loeliger-Myers
Collaborating with LGBT-friendly destinations that include Stockholm, Copenhagen, Antwerp, and Germany, Out Traveler helped send two lucky Americans to Europe to explore the continent and report back. The winners, who made a compelling Instagram video to win their European getaway, sent their first travelogue back from Berlin. Here's what Brooklyn couple Kevin and Kenny did during their time in the German capital of cool.
While the city of Berlin has almost 800 years of history, in some ways it’s only 25 years old. And like many 25-year-olds with a complicated childhood, it's developed its own defiant identity that turns its past on its head; that’s not to say it’s forgotten any of it. No matter where you are in the city, the rich history of Berlin is tactile. Parts of the Berlin Wall are still preserved, elsewhere, it's a cobblestone path reminding you how the city and country were so recently divided.
The city is full of unique museums and art installations dedicated to both World War II and the turmoil that followed until the German Reunification. Tränenplast, or The Palace of Tears, recreates the former border-crossing checkpoint at Berlin Friedrichstraße station. Broadcast News pieces from each side of the wall highlight the fierce divide between the two governments, while personal testimonies and documents showcase the restrictions on personal liberty that were a part of daily life during the separation.
Another free museum, the Topography of Terror, is an indoor/outdoor installation along the longest remaining section of the outer wall that documents the rise to power of the Gestapo and SS, and the practices and tactics that kept them there.
Across the city, Kreuzberg is home to the East Side Gallery, a half-mile stretch of the inner wall that became a public mural exhibition. Painted by over 100 artists from around the world in 1990, it reflects hope born out of years of Soviet turmoil and encapsulates the forward-focused attitude that permeates Berlin today.