Live Aus Berlin

Trip Start May 07, 2007
Trip End May 31, 2007

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Flag of Germany  ,
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    The droning noise of the television gets progressively louder and more German as I remember that I had set the alarm clock the night before. However the rudest awakening was an hour and a half early when the sun started to beam on my face, I forgot that the sun rises extremely early in these parts. I awaken from my first full night sleep in what seems like weeks, I inspect the bathroom and come to face one of my worse enemies of Germany... the hotel shower.

    Showers in hotel rooms in European cities for the most part all are the same. A serpentine like contraption consisting of a handheld showerhead that is strategically placed at a level that is too low for most humans to stand under unless sitting on the shower floor or a leprechaun. Also the basin if not a bathtub is a three inch tall barrier that will no doubtly overflow even if you are lucky enough to have a shower door... What I am trying to get at here is no matter how hard you try... the floor will have more water on it than you do.

    After my love/hate moment with my shower, I make it downstairs for breakfast. If Germans know how to do things right, it's eat. There was a bustling buffet of travelers and wonderous treats such as Brochen (Hard Rolls), meats and cheeses... the best thing to do is to make a sandwich out of the three and one for the road later. Some even decided to get creative with the sandwiches putting things like eggs and even Nutella on them. What is Nutella you may ask? Well, it is a delicious creamy hazelnut chocolate spread that is really popular in Europe, we sell it over here but it isn't such a staple as it is over there. This being the case, I stuck about ten of the packets in my pocket for later consumption, a week later I was wondering why my bag smelled like chocolate.

    As I enjoy my breakfast I look out the window and see that it is drizzling rain again... did I mention that it is also very chilly out side? I am not looking forward to what the weather holds for today. Dr. Toro yells at us "Class Time", we all re-group and head out into the rain and the cold for our second day of adventure in Berlin. This day was well spent viewing such monuments as The Brandenburg Gate and The Holocaust Memorial. We also enjoyed a lovely boat ride past Museum Island and sometime to do some exploring of our own. One thing about weather in Germany, one moment it can be cold and raining the next moment it will be hot and stuffy or warm and the sun glaring in your face. Very bipolar weather, worse than Florida in the summer. One tip, dress in layers and ALWAYS have an umbrella. Ella ella.. hey hey hey. (I will explain that later.)

    A group of us split off from the main group and decide to find a nice place to eat, we wander into this place in a back alley of Berlin. The place is very dark and the wait staff hardly speak a word of English, we practice our German and ask for a menu and as we flip through it we translate one word... the word for potato, every dish.... even the dessert had potato in it. We named it The International House of Potatoes. I had the soup, I bet you can't guess what kind?

    We finish up our day of siteseeing at the Jewish Museum, as soon as you enter you don't know which way to go next. It is purposely designed to make you feel confused and inescapable, there are odd angled rooms and no signs leading you to the next exhibit. The stairs that went to nowhere was my favorite and also the fact that I still don't know how I went downstairs and ended up back up stairs where I started. All I knew is that I was shocked that there was only a small section relating to World War II. The best part of the museum was a audio/visual presentation of a documentary of the denial of the passengers of a ship of escapees and the room filled with metal faces with the cement walls that shot up into an open was probably one of the most surreal experiences ever standing in this room.

    Later that night a small group of us set out for an evening drink, however it was raining and the closest place was a tiny sportsbar across from our hotel. We stumble over there blinded by the rain, we think the place is closed but we knock on the door since we see a few people inside. A very gruff blond older German woman unlocks the door, we ask if it is closed. She says, "NEIN" very sternly and motions us to sit down... we walk straight to our table and then we get the feeling that we are in that bar from American Werewolf in London... we were expecting to be told to beware of the moors. The place was very smoky, dimly lit and had a very lived in feeling. Random knick-knacks were shuffled about on the walls including pictures of regulars. These same eyes in the pictures were the eyes engaged in a card game including the blond barkeep. It was us, the "loud" American kids and the table of very german locals that night in the bar. The barkeep takes our drink order... numerous times. Every time though it seemed like she was warming up to us a little bit more after I guess she figured we weren't leaving for awhile. It was about 1:30am when she comes over and slams down a makeshift Connect Four board, we knew at that moment that we were just one of the regulars now. After a few rounds of Connect Four and a few more drinks we are all ready to go. We say our goodbyes and the barkeep smiles and says in harsh english "Are you coming back tomorrow night?". We laugh and tell her we'll try....

    No werewolves that night, but I learned a little something about the human animal. Everyone is a stranger till they meet you. It's simple, but the very meaning didn't hit me until there was a Connect Four board in front of me. After all isn't that what life is about... making new connections?
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