Berlin - day 34
Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
24Trip End Nov 13, 2011
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went to sleep last night in the usual manner - dead tired, feet and knees throbbing from walking 5 to 7 hours a day...but i woke up unlike every other day, refreshed and ready to go, today my knee didn't want to move correctly...i couldn't properly straighten my left leg and putting weight on it was painful...oops!
i did some creaky leg stretches in my room, then went to a chemist and got some heat cream...points to me for being able to communicate what i needed :)
so with a bandaged knee under my jeans, and ready with my umbrella, scarf, thermal undershirt and rain jacket (did you get the subliminal message there about how cold it is?), i hit the streets of berlin once again (and promptly bought woolly ear warmers and leg warmers!)
berlin is quite awesome...this is the city where my very first picture was of a drunken naked guy dancing in the middle of a busy street and stopping traffic - we stayed and watched for a while to see if he had a point but only managed to see him trying to talk to someone on the phone, failing, and giving the phone to a passerby, then attempting to bend over to pick up his clothes, failing, and just standing there trying to figure out what to do next
berlin is a wonderfully cosmopolitan city, it's almost like the quintessential european destination...a mix of old and new, east and west, left and right, all melding together yet exuding individualism
the majority of the sites you see around berlin have been reconstructed over the last 30 years, and i believe the city is quite different to what it was even a short decade ago...some buildings were torn down and rebuilt altogether, yet others have been remodeled in their original style...i would love to come back here in another 10 years to see how it has differed
as you walk around it's easy to forget the turmoil this city has been through in the past, and it's also really humbling to see a breathtaking building from afar and then to see the bullet holes in the construction as you get closer
the differences between east and west berlin are instantly recognisable in the structures you see and even in the colour of everything around you, and in a show of pure class (in my opinion) very few segments of the berlin wall remain...my favourite parts weren't even the actual 'wall' but the harsh brick lines remaining in the middle of the road or passing through an otherwise benign footpath down a quiet street...the symbolism in the subtlety, and the intake of breath when you realise where you are standing have a far greater impact than looking at the actual bricks and mortar which represented the worst of our humanity
people think of WWII and think of book burning and hitler and concentration camps, and it's so easy to forget the aftermath that lasted 28 years in this city - a whole generation of people who had never seen beyond that fucking brick wall...the GDR, the German Democratic Republic...i was young when this was all going on, not really aware or even caring about what was happening on the other side of the world (unless it involved Madonna or Price), but 'democratic', really? was this the joke of the century? did anyone 'ha ha' over it? did it suit the western world to have this happen, to be able to point and say 'see, this is what we are protecting you from, this is why we are 'better''? does their simple yet poignant use of the word 'democracy' not laugh in the face of the rest of the world, and should it not stop and make us see that no matter what side we think we are on, the bullshit we are fed is the bullshit we are fed? a rose by any other name..
anyway, fuck that morbid shit, berlin is very cool...there's a really great feeling in the air around here, and berliners know how to mind one's personal space...you can be walking though a packed train platform and NO ONE touches you...top points from me on that one
very, VERY tourist friendly, everywhere i went and everything i did was welcoming and pleasant...and berliners have a style i very much approve of, understated yet highly individual (other than the emos whose guidebook says they have to look the same no matter where they are else they'll be kicked out of the club and forced to be happy)...it's cathartic to see women dress fashionably without looking like war-painted fashion victims or wannabe whores - even the actual whores in berlin wore more clothes than some chicks in sydney do, not to mention the fashion atrocities i saw in las vegas - EW!
-taxi driver asked me if australians eat snakes...i've heard some beauties about the misconceptions of australia, but this one was too much...what a fucking dumbcunt
-i got asked for directions again...aaahhhaaa...maybe there is something approachable in my demeanour when i travel that i don't exude in my normal life...this time they said in german "blah blah blah pergammon blah blah ja nein"...i had just been to the pergammon museum so i said "no sprechen ze deutche, but it's over there behind the construction site" and pointed...we all laughed at each other :)
-i was standing outside a train station looking at a map of the underground and this man came and spoke to me...i immediately went on 'single girl travelling alone in a strange city' mode and took a step back and was all rude and body-language closed off and said "no deutche"...only to see he was an information officer offering me help...when i saw his name tag and badge i apologised and smiled and tried to make it better, and thanked him
-crying internal rivers of tears over the fact that i can't do any shopping because i can't carry extra stuff around with me...i've loved the look of the shopping (and prices) in berlin :(
-german's eat boiled pork...this is just wrong, dudes, W R O N G
-pastries! go to a bakery, point at any random thing and eat it...absolutely guaranteed to be divine!
-i particularly liked hearing about (and imagining) the 'ghost stations
-i think i'm getting overly tired and running out of witty ways to relay my adventures...next time i plan an overextended holiday adventure someone needs to smack me over the head and remind me that i'm getting too old to be constantly on the go
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