Instagram has a reputation of romanticising and enticing you in to believe that the world is peaceful and fair. Berlin is just one of many places that Instagram successfully does, just that.
Many of you will have an Instagram account and most of you will either use or visit it every day. Recently I have returned from a five-day trip to the city of Berlin. I have Instagram to thank for that.
Let me explain.
The Instagram app on my phone is rarely ever closed, I am obsessed with following accounts that document their travels and constantly post dreamy and scenic pictures of spaces in the world that are truly unbelievable. Some accounts surprise you making you have a double take, questioning “is that REALLY in the UK?” because you just cannot fathom that a blue sky and tropical looking waterfall fit within the same picture under the location of North West England. The people of Instagram all know how to appreciate a good pic when they see one, don’t they?
With constant reminders of exactly how attractive Instagram can be when you follow such inspiring accounts, it doesn’t surprise me that so many of us decide to book a flight, out the blue, to a corner of interest, spending a few days there. Naturally you snap away because you are in a place that you either love or it’s completely new to you, knowing that on return you will want to share your experiences through the picture portal that is Instagram – the perfect place for documenting. It’s a hobby that I believe will keep anybody young, happy and hungry for more adventure.
When I returned from a trip to London all I wanted to do was experience again. Something different, something appealing and something cheap! Berlin is a place that I had saw many pictures of. East Side Gallery, The Berlin Wall, The Brandenburg Gate, The Victory Column, all very historic attractions.
I knew before reaching Berlin that there would be a lot to take in and so much history that would leave an impression. Nothing prepared me for the things I saw and learned. Not a picture on Instagram of a Jewish Memorial site. No review of the city on any website. Nothing. It was the most solemn yet awakening experience, that I urge everyone who has never visited Berlin, Germany to go and see.
I spent five days there and each day was dedicated to travelling around the city from memorial to memorial. Once I was there, I felt a duty to visit as many memorials and museums as I could. I won’t say it wasn’t hard emotionally, though I wouldn’t say it was easy to imagine doing something else with my time in Berlin either.
What attracted me to the city before was the art, the street art and the impressive buildings covered in colour. Of course, I knew I would go to Berlin and make time to learn more about the history and holocaust, but I admit that I did not expect to dedicate each day to learn, and now I’m glad I did.
Instagram has a reputation of romanticising and enticing you in to believe that the world is peaceful and fair. An eye-catching, colour-popping picture of (what is left of) a rain-forest or a shanty town at dusk can make you forget about the hurt, pain and suffering that continues. A filter can mask the reality, don’t let the beauty fool you always.
Before, I was drawn to the place because of the beauty that Instagram had shown to me. Now I know all about the harrowing events and horrific timeline of the holocaust and no picture can explain that. Instagram prompted me to visit a city that had so much more to offer than I had initially expected and I gained a lot more from learning about the black and white pictures from the history than I did from looking at the colourful side buildings.
Travelling will always show you more than any Instagram picture can, no matter how well known. There is nothing like experiencing a place for yourself, and in your own personal way.