Getting a feel for Berlin

Trip Start May 16, 2006
Trip End Aug 16, 2006

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Flag of Germany  ,
Friday, May 19, 2006

So, yesterday I eventually regained the ability to breathe, swallow, and smell like a normal human being. Still, jet lag still has me waking up at 5-6am. For the morning yesterday I wandered aimlessly around Berlin near my hostel... nothing noteworthy. I ate a baguette, took a picture of a random beautiful church, drank a mezzo-something orange soda drink thing, and learned the hard way that 'table water' doesnt mean water that is meant to be set on a table between sips, but carbonated water. Not my style.

On the way back, though, an Australian handing out flyers told me about a free walking tour (tip the guy at the end if you like it). The other walking/bike tours I was looking into were 15 euro and up, so I decided to go. The tour was fantastic, the guide was great. I actually ended up getting coffee with him and a couple other people afterwards. He is a Texan living in Berlin pursuing an acting and/or directing career... very interesting.

Anyway, the tour was great. Favorite stops include the holocause memorial (this might be the exact name), the brandenburg gate, the berlin wall, the german parlaimant building, and a really funny church.

The parlaiment building was a standard really old government building, but there is a modern addition that is very interesting. The roof is a huge glass dome with walkways around it at various levels. Walking around the dome is completely free and open to anyone. Itäs not that interesting until you see the symbolism. The people, ie the common man, is constantly walking around the top, looking down on their governmental leaders. On the other hand, if the legislators get bored of talking about wurst laws or david hasselhoff or whatever it german leaders talk about, thy might look up towards the dome. Who#s looking down on them? You guessed it, the people. It#s a constant reminder that the people are above the government, not the other way around.

The funny church is a monstrous, elaborate structure... but hereäs the catch: whoever was leading the country at the time was monitoring the progress of its construction. he would pop in every so often, observe the progress, and say things along the line of 'thats a cool arch, i want more arches!' and 'thats a cool Jesus statue, i want more Jesus!', etc, etc. The result is a building that, at a glance, looks like any massive, elaborate, beautiful, old european church. If you stop to look, though, it is simply absurd. There are statues strewn about randomly all over the front, a spattering of arches, a gaudy gold cross, and generally a disarray and electicism not common in massive architectural undertakings such as that. Very bizarre and humorous.

Okay, enough moderately-interesting-if-you-arent-actually-here stuff. Here's the true simultaneously high and low point of Berlin thus far:

Last night, myself and a couple friends went to an Irish Pub near our hostel. Very shortlz after arrival, a band takes the stage. Cool. After some talking in german, the band begins their first song. ALAN JACKSONs chattahoochee. Wow. So, let me recap... im in germany, at an irish pub, listening to bad german alan jackson covers. by the way, half the lines were in german, half in english. oh, and germans were singing along.
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summerhill on

Hey- it's amy d.
I have had a great time reading your highs and lows (well, except the bodily function parts). I am a poser and got one of these as well (I'll try and add you as a fav. if I can figure it out). I can't wait to be in Duetschland in 2 weeks. I will make a note to avoid the curry wurst and check out the parliment building in Berlin (I'll bethere two days with a 'government education resistance' group celebration in some Bier Garten). It already sounds like you are having some kick ass adventures. Have fun meeting up with Sumeeta in France (I told her to get one of these pods as well).
I'll take Germany over for you when you leave- good luck with the rest of everything- I look forward to reading.
Amy D.

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