But, the travel stress did not end there... Nope. I decided to give AirBnB another shot, and booked accommodations for both of my German destinations since hotels were pretty pricy. Well, I still hadn't heard anything from my host about my arrival time, so I booked it to the address she had posted. When I arrived no one was there. Then, after waiting and trying to phone her, I received a text saying that she was running late, and that she'd be another 45 minutes. This annoyed me, but fine, no big deal, I thought, I'll just wait it out. Two minutes before the revised meeting time, I received yet another text, saying that she'd need at least another 20 minutes... At this point, it had started to rain fairly hard, and in my attempt to escape from the rain caught my leg on a bench (yeah, I know... such a graceful one!), which not only ripped through my jeans, but also a fairly decent sized gash in my leg! So, needless to say, I wasn't overly welcoming of this news...but what other choice did I have? Then, about 15 minutes later, her brother showed up, speaking very little English. He let me into the flat, but informed me that the room was not ready, and asked that I "get lost for 20 minutes or so." This second attempt was failing epically. And unfortunately, I think it really set the tone for this leg of the trip! To summarize in one swift little sentence, I have concluded that Berlin is the worst...ever. Possible even over Atlanta...because at least Atlanta gave me a Santa Claus Convention! But, I feel that someday, I will enjoy many laughs at this entire kerfuffle!
|Excuse my pasty and hair leg...but note the pretty sweet bruising happening' there!|
|Summer 2013 - legit Santa Claus Convention, Atlanta, Georgia|
|Shots from within Tiergarten|
|Tree with many faces or a velociraptor?|
|Composers Memorial, including Haydn...|
|Classic Emily: Goes to big city, finds trees, takes pictures of nature, |
which pretty much look like images from anywhere back home!
|The Global Stone Project... I wondered if this might be connected somehow|
to the display in the Peace Pavillon in Dartmouth. Does anyone know?
First I looked at Brandenburg Gate. Then, I walked in Tiergarten on the opposite side of the street from where I was the day before. As I walked, I checked out a few of the memorials and such along the way.
|Soviet War Memorial|
|Have you ever seen so many flowers?!|
|Berlin Victory Column|
|Reichstag Building (Parliament)|
This took longer than I'd hoped, but my interest in the German Historical Museum did the trick! To be fair, it lost my interest too...and pretty much solidified my deep hatred for the city. For, it was here that I began to realize that everyone I had been encountering were really angry! Seriously, what's up with that?! Anyway, the Museum itself was pretty decent, but truth be told, I really only went in to ditch the young chap and use the bathroom. Perhaps the best €4 I ever spent!
From here I made my way to the Berlin Cathedral, which was stunning from the outside, but was too long of a line up to go in. Still, it was really nice to walk around.
Since I didn't do the Cathedral, I thought I'd take my chances on Berliner Fernsehtrum (TV Tower), which boasted excellent views of the city. Now, I've done a few of these sorts of tower tours, but this one seemed to be really pricy. I especially felt this way once I got to the top and realized it was fully enclosed (well, doesn't someone sound like a spoiled world traveller!!). There were also a lot of people up there and that made it difficult to actually have a chance to really take a look. There wasn't any concern for anyone else from the other participants, and this once again backed my growing dislike for this city. Of course, it probably didn't help that while waiting for my number to go up, I went for lunch at a nearby deli. Apparently I didn't speak loud enough when I placed my order, and the lady working yelled at me and told me to speak louder or leave... it's freakin' harsh for a shy little Canadian.
|Views from the top! Here you can see the Cathedral.|
|In the centre is the much under construction, Museum Island|
|Not sure what this is, but saw it on my walk to the Berlin Wall Museum|
|Who wouldn't want to cross over to the American Sector? |
Based on this photograph, it appears they had the first ever McCafé!
My next stop was the Topography of Terror Museum, where I semi-shamefully must admit to one of the most inappropriate acts on my part. The Topography of Terror is a museum which shows all of the areas where the Holocaust took place in Berlin (and other areas, but mostly Berlin). Again, it was really well done. But, one of the displays was on the topic of the administration of Euthanasia during Hitler's reign, directed towards the physically and mentally ill. And here's that moment that I regretfully carried out... You see, seeing the word "euthanasia" reminded me of a certain story about the time my sweet, innocent mother learned about this term...which of course led me to burst out in the most inappropriate and uncontrollable fit of laughter. Not my best moment, but I think she would have appreciated it. To fill you in, my Mom couldn't figure out why any one would want to kill the 'youth in Asia.' And that my friends, is the story of the time I humiliated myself in the most ill-suited instance, quite possibly ever. NEXT!
|Topography of Terror Museum|
|A slightly concerning sight to find almost across the street from this museum...|
|The last remaining bit of the Berlin Wall|
|I think the Wall is trying to tell us something...|
This museum was by far the best I'd seen in Berlin. The instruction of silence creates a semi eerie atmosphere, which builds on the overall experience, I think. It starts with a 'prelude' which gives a very detailed account of the Holocaust. Given the experience from a few days before, it was tough to read it all. But, I found it interesting, as everyone took turns and was patient waiting to read the next section. No one spoke. It was still. Next is the Room of Dimensions which features segments of letters written during the genocide, by its victims. For me, this made the entire visit. Never have I been in such a public place and experienced so many people openly weeping as they moved from one side of the room to the next. People of all ages, men and women, completely overcome with emotion. It was actually quite beautiful in a very sad sort of way. It was almost as if we were all in it together, no one cared, or made judgement, because we were all experiencing the same thing...except for that one lady who just kept looking at everyone as if to say why's everyone so worked up?! Anyway, as the centre continues, you are introduced to several families whose fate's varied, you hear tales of victims, and learn about the many sites where these horrific events took place. If you do one thing in Berlin, I would suggest that this be it!
But, two things struck me about it. First, there was no mention of Anne Frank, which as a North American, appears to be the basis of the education unit on the Holocaust. This kind of impressed me, actually. I thought it was great/refreshing/insightful/interesting (all of these words seem wrong) to learn about others...yet unfortunate that there were so many others to learn about. The second thing that caught my attention was the language and tone of the wording throughout. 'Murder' and 'genocide' were not widely used in any of the curriculum during my years in public school, or at least that I can remember. In an extremely naïve way, I felt it was quite harsh at first, until I really thought about it for a moment, and realized how strange it is that we teach it in such a 'lighthearted' way. I didn't feel as though the language or the tone were used as an intentional shock-factor, but more so just as a direct-and-to-the-point manner of delivery.
Afterwords, I ate a quiet meal, and returned to my room. The next morning I packed up, ate a quick breakfast at that same café and made my way to the train station for my final stop...
-the Orange Canadian