This year, I’ve noticed something about myself. It’s something I didn’t want to admit at first but after a while, I wanted to shout it out at the rooftops. Underneath this sexy and handsome exterior lies a dark secret. Now I’m ready to tell you how I really feel. At first, I started noticing my feelings when I wandered around Buenos Aires in Argentina at the beginning of this year but I ignored them putting it down to just a phase. Then when I went to Madrid, I started to profess my feelings but keeping it to a minimum. Now, after undertaking my German leg of Europe, I knew I would have to get it out. Here it is.
I love Architecture.
That’s right. I have fallen in love in the way buildings are designed. You know those arty types that stare at a painting for hours on end at extravagant art galleries? Well, I’m pretty much the same with Architecture. I love to take more and more pictures of a building at different angles and I often shout out my appreciation by screaming ‘YES!’ when I get a good angle of a building perhaps looking over another building. Buildings are beautiful. I love to run my hands across the walls to feel how smooth or rough it can be. I love looking up to see a building towering over me. I just love buildings.
But there’s one building that has stood out this year that I’ve fallen deeply and extraordinarily in love with.
Opened in 1894, the Reichstag is a historical edifice in Berlin to house the Imperial Diet, the German Parliament equivalent, of the German Empire after Unification of Germany until 1933 when a fire started suspiciously ravaged and gutted the inside of the Reichstag (poor thing!). Hitler used this to blame it on the Communists and prompted closed down the Diet thus destroying democracy in Germany. After the Nazis were defeated, the parliament didn’t meet again at the Reichstag and instead met in different places as Berlin was split into two due to the Cold War. However, during the 1960s, the Reichstag was made safe from the elements and partially restored but no full restoration was made until 1990s when Berlin was re-unified at the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1999, the Reichstag was fully restored and once again became the meeting place for the German parliament: The Bundestag where it is still used to this day. On top of the building lies a dome where visitors can wander around the top and gaze down at the German Parliament at work. It is a pretty unique experience and to watch them wrangle more deals to keep the Eurozone afloat. Today, the Reichstag is the second most viewed attraction in Germany.
I can believe the Reichstag is the second most viewed attraction because it is so beautiful. I confess, I grabbed some lunch and I literally spent a whole morning just gazing at it from the grass park in front of the building moving to different spots to appreciate all of its angles. I’m weird, I know.
Coming up close, I could appreciate the intricate detailing work (by the way, I don’t know any architectural jargon, I just love from afar with simple appreciation) and running my hands over the walls, chipped and dotted with bullet indents, you could feel that you are touching history. Just imagine, in the mid 20th century, no normal citizen in the west would have been able to walk up and run their hands over the Reichstag’s walls. Today, anyone can. It’s hard to imagine that the people who may have wanted to see the Reichstag in days past wouldn’t have been able to throughout their life. It’s pretty thought-provoking. I’m privileged to be a British Citizen and I’ve been able to go where I’ve always wanted to go in my home country. But some German citizens whether east or west, wouldn’t have been able to.
When I returned back to the park to gaze once more, I could see that the building has a tremendous amount of character. It’s seen a lot of things since the Reichstag was constructed in 1871. Imagine all the things it could have seen. It’s seen simple German citizens going to work, the fall and rise of Governments, the centrepoint of the Cold War etc. And it’s only less than 150 years old. I knew both the Reichstag and I will get on very well.
Soon, I had to leave to undertake another walking tour going through the history of Berlin in greater detail. But somehow, I knew I would be seeing the Reichstag again. Until then, farewell Reichstag. (whispers: ‘You’re my heart and soul.’)