I love Berlin

Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
Trip End Aug 30, 2009

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Flag of Germany  ,
Saturday, July 4, 2009

I've been in Europe for about a week now. There are a few things I've learned.

1. European cheese smells awful. I got some Havarti, and it smells like feet (for my friends at Keystone, it smells like BHI agar(.

2. Public transit is great. I've always thought that, but the train and metro system in Europe is superior. It's amazing to me that in Canada we're retiring trains and putting them in museums, while here the rail system is being expanded every year. Berlin is home to 3.4 million people, but you can't tell how large the city is because you can hop on public transit and go wherever you want quickly and easily.

3. European pigeons are much much smarter than Canadian pigeons. I think we've all nearly stepped on a pigeon or have seen them get killed by slow moving vehicles. I have yet to see a European pigeon die. This is amazing because there are trains and trams everywhere. The pigeons here are smart.

4. I can order a beer in German. That's the only German sentence I can say.

5. European candy is so good.

I've spent the last few days wandering around Berlin. I saw a lot of stuff including the location of Hitler's bunker, where he commited suicide and the hotel where Michael Jackson held that child out of window. Of course I saw the regular sites as well, including the wall and the zoo. There isn't much of the wall left, the longest section is only 1.3 km. Originally it was about 160 km long. It's really cool though, they're having the original graffiti artists come and re-paint the East Side Gallery (which is the long stretch of the wall). After, a protective coating will be put on the wall to preserve it and its art. Another noteworthy thing that I saw was the Holocaust Memorial. Its a bunch of really tall blocks that are made of really smooth concrete. They have a graffiti-resistant coating on them to protect them from vandalism. When you walk up to the monument, there's no sign, so you walk into it, trying to find some sort of plaque. The blocks get really tall all around you and you sort of get lost. It's a really strong metaphor for what the confusion and peril that Jewish people experienced. I really liked it. There are so many cool bars here, and so much history, I could definitely stay longer, but I must continue on.

My favorite thing about Berlin is Ampleman. In East Berlin during the days of the wall, the Soviets wanted to stop little kids from jay walking. They made a cartoon about Ampleman. Ampleman is a little man with a hat. He is green or red. After a year of having Ampleman on TV and letting kids play with Ampleman toys, the East Berlin government put Ampleman in the crossing lights at intersections. A green ample man is like our white person, who tells us to cross the street. A red Ampleman is like our red hand, that tells us to wait to cross. Anyways, when the wall came down, the new Berlin government wanted to get red of Ampleman, and all of the other evidence of the Soviet presence. People actually took to the streets and protested. Ampleman remains in many lights in the city, and its funny because people are much less likely to jay walk at those cross walks with Ampleman, because they think of him as a real character from their childhood. I like Ampleman. He's really cute.

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Andi on


Nice travel diary.
I'm from (east) Berlin and i know "Ampleman" since my childhood.
This danish cheese smells in need of getting used to. But if you overcome to cost it, you'll like it.

Take care....

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