Taking the U-bahn to Warschauer Str is a pleasant way to get out of the cold and see a bit more of greater Berlin. We were headed there to the East Side Gallery, which has a section of the Berlin Wall preserved. In doing so, you will also get a chance to ride across the Oberbaum Bridge or Oberbaumbrücke which is a double-deck bridge that spans Berlin’s River Spree.
The lower deck is a roadway whilst the upper deck carries the train track. What caught my attention were the turrets. They look so menacing like those of a castle filled with archers that I was disappointed to find out later that they do not really serve a function. The best view of them though is really from the river side. So I had to be patient with my camera and waited till we had left the station before getting a good view of this city landmark.
After being spoilt by Bulowstrasse, we were very much looking forward to East Side Gallery. It is the longest segment of the Berlin Wall that is still standing at 1.3km long. And with paintings by over a hundred artists right when the wall came down, some consider this a monument of reunification. We read that weather took a toll on many of the images and in 2009, forty of these were restored. I guess that’s the hazard of an open air gallery. If the outside of my house needs repainting every ten years, good luck to a can of spray paint surviving the four seasons year after year. Speaking of the weather, it also started raining when we arrived. Luckily we were more than prepared for wintry Berlin!
Other than expecting a lot of visitors (apparently more than 3 million of us come by here every year), we weren’t quite sure what to expect. So after getting onto Mühlenstraße where the gallery is located, we discovered that they have fenced it up! We were aghast! Almost the entire stretch of the gallery was fenced off. Apparently it was put up a couple of months ago in a bid to save the paintings from being vandalized.
In some ways, it is almost ironic. Trying to save what some still call graffiti from graffiti! But we could definitely see what they meant. Some walls had tags on them and even writing and declarations of love from tourists. Then as if taking a selfie was not enough, it’s been reported that tourists have also been taking souveniers of the wall themselves!!
Once more, another hazard of an open air gallery. So, until some of the works are restored and a more permanent solution is worked up to protect these pieces of work, the fence will remain. Which is annoying for those of us who want nothing more than a photo. As a side note, the rear of the wall do not have a fence and it is filled with art/graffiti. I guess if you are a beginner, you are more than welcome to practice on this wall. Nevertheless, we found some interesting and amusing pieces here.