Off the Wall: Adventures in Berlin

Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
Trip End Sep 04, 2008

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Flag of Germany  ,
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

From the moment we arrived in Germany's capital city, it seemed as though there was a rift between Shannon and I. We couldn't agree on a place to eat. We couldn't agree on where to stay. We toured the Berlinerdom church which I loved, whereas Shannon preferred the war torn tower of the Kaiser-Weilhelm church. Its so typical that he would like to see something with bullet holes. That's such a guy thing. I enjoyed strolling down Unter den Linden street looking in all the shop windows, while Shannon spent all our money on Kurfurstendamm. I really wish he would consult me before buying a giant inflatable bear who's t-shirt reads "I heart Berlin". I prefer to ride the Ubahn metro below ground, but Shannon always wanted to ride the S-bahn trains above ground. We just couldn't get along no matter what we tried. Shannon says "tomato", I say "Shut the hell up." With the growing tension between us, the outlook of our trip was gloomy at best. It wasn't until we came to Checkpoint Charlie, that we realized something had to be done about all this fighting. Suddenly a bright, glowing figure came out of the distance. Was it an omnipotent being? Was it God himself? No, it was Hasselhoff. Not the Baywatch Hasselhoff that most people recognize, but the Knightrider Hasselhoff who is much more powerful. He pulled us towards him for an embrace against his glistening hairy chest. That is when Shannon and I realized that we are the same. Why are we fighting about silly things, when we could be enjoying this great city together!!! And so it was, Rachel and Shannon's wall of indifference came down. They buried their differences and became allies at Checkpoint Charlie.
Berlin is full of interesting museums. It would take you weeks to see them all. The Pergamon museum was a particular favorite for us because it contained a giant roman altar and the doors of Ishtar from the city of Babylon. At the Agyptes museum we saw mummies and old relics from Egyptian tombs. The pinnacle of our visit was seeing the head of Nefertiti or Nefertiti's Noggin as it should be called. There is also a Kennedy Museum here because John F. Kennedy had a wonderful repoire with the people of Berlin. On a visit to the city in 1962, he proclaimed during his speech "Ich bin eine Berliner!!" which actually translates as "I am a jelly donut". Not exactly what he meant to say, but the people laughed and embraced the Kennedy family as their own. They still laugh about the mispronunciation today and of course sell a lot of T-shirts. Right near Brandenburg gate is the Reichstag or German Parliament building. We eased through the tight security and were destined for the rooftop. The entire roof is enclosed with glass and a dom. Ramps lead you up inside a glass cone until you reach the top for a wonderful view of the city. All around the city there are reminders of World War II and the presence of communist rule. You can see bullet holes in some of the buildings and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is hauntingly touching. Nothing is more of a reminder about intolerance and indifference than the remnants of the Berlin Wall. There is a memorial section in the works that we visited. Not much to see yet, but it will be completed in 2011 to serve as a tribute to those who were killed trying to escape over the wall. On the east side there is a large section of the wall remaining which serves as a graffiti art gallery. Mostly its been ruined by people writing obscenities and their names all over the artwork.
In the wake of WWII and the wall coming down, the city of Berlin has bloomed into a city of peace and artistic expression and friendship. The blending of new and old is particularly striking. Where the wall once stood at Potsdamerplatz, there is now a huge entertainment center where you can see movies and dine on any cuisine you wish. The city is alive with commerce and enterprise. Busy people going places and making things happen. A city rises from its ashes like a Phoenix. In the past lies intolerance and suffering under communist rule. A new leaf has turned. There is hope for the people of Berlin. Thank you David Hasselhoff!!

Guten Nacht!

Rach & Shan
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ofhenderson on

OMG, I have I German in me
Hello! I wanted to let you know that I rec'd a postcard from Poland. What a shock to the realization of how horrible it once was. And to think, I have a lot of German in me. I think just the drinking and German food have the main influnce over me. Do they still sell pieces of the Berlin Wall? What a cool trinket to put by the fire place.
Hugs, Oletha, Brad & Brett-ly (Who starts school on 9/4, ALREADY?!?)

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