Decisions Decisions..

Trip Start Apr 12, 2008
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Trip End Jun 18, 2008


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Flag of Germany  ,
Monday, May 26, 2008

<Brian's brief chronological list of "highlights" (and of whinging)>
 
- Went to the Sachenhaussen Concentration Camp on a walking tour... This was a difficult decision to make as it was competing with the Lego World... a much more fun place I would think. But considering we had missed Dachau in Munich, we thought we had better go see the concentration camp. The information given was kinda interesting, the layout of the camp, how prisoners were accommodated and treated was also interesting in a sad kind of way. We even saw station Z which was used to massacre their prisoners... it was an interesting setup... there were a series of rooms where the prisoners would line up... the first room had 2 Nazis posing as doctors to measure their height, the second room had a hole in the wall where the Nazi would shoot the prisoner through the wall at head height... gruesome... the next room lead to the kilns to cremate the bodies...
 
All in all, it was interesting, even more so if you were a WW2 buff... but for me, I think I woulda preferred Lego World... HAHA,
- Had dinner at an Italian restaurant that was nearby the hotel, then picked up our bags from the hotel and went to the Haupbahnhof (the main train station in Berlin) to wait 6 hours for our overnight train to Amsterdam. We passed the 6 hours by walking around the Haupbahnhof which composes of 4 levels, the bottom 2 being shops and eateries and the top 2 being the platforms for the many different trains. While walking around, we came across a Dunkin' Donuts so grabbed half a dozen of them... eat what the locals eat right? Keeping that in mind, we also sat at the Maccas there for a good 2 hours... mainly coz we thought the toilet there would be free which it wasn't... a toilet Nazi was sitting out the front of the toilet expecting a 50 cent tip. Lang caved and paid her dues... I refused to pay anything so sat a few tables away, munching on a happy meal which came with unlimited refills of coke. Luckily at 11pm, the toilet nazi got changed, packed up and left... leaving the toilet unguarded... so away I went... boy was that relieving.
- 6 hours later, we walked up to our platform to be told that our 12:30am train was now 1.5 hours late... grrrr....We roamed around a little and then 1.5 hrs later we were told it was now 2hrs late... argh!!! 30 mins later the loooooong train arrived but this was only a brief stop for it, so we had to run from one end of the train to the other to get to our sleeper carriage. Unfortunately, we were both in the 2 middle beds of a 6 person sleeper cabin and the other 4 people had already gone to sleep...so with quite a bit of noise, we crept into our beds with our backpacks under our feet we slept. What a nightmare that all was!
 
<Lang's Extended Version>
 
Since we couldn't go on the tour to Sachenhausen Concentration Camp yesterday, we decided to try again today.. Well, I think Brian really wanted to go to Lego Land, but since we were in Germany and missed out on Dachau while in Munich earlier on in our trip, we had to give this a go, right?
 
So after breakfast (yes, ham and cheese AGAIN!!), we walked out to the meeting point and paid for our tour.. The guide took us to the main station, where we had to take a regional train to Orangerie, where the camp was situated.
 
As we were entering the train and trying to head upstairs to nab a seat, the (biggish) lady behind us tripped over a bicycle baby mover and literally sat on the thing.. Yes, there was a baby inside and the guide, Jennifer, was so concerned for the baby, but the lady was oblivious to the face that she may have been sitting on top of him that she goes "It's okay I'm alright.." Luckily, baby was fast asleep and didn't make a sound..
 
The train journey only took us about 20 minutes and our group only had 9 people, which was great as we saw another group there with close to 30 people there.. Jennifer was extremely passionate and knowledgeable as she had spent the past 6 years studying and working in Germany, her first couple actually at Dachau itself. She was very happy to share her experiences with us.
 
It was somewhat moving to see how the camp was set up and also chilling walking through the places that were once used to house corpses. Just knowing what happened here sends shivers up your spine..
 
So after approximately 4 hours, it was time to head back to Berlin. The tour was definitely worthwhile if you are interested in this type of thing, but as we've come to experience, the tour guide can really make a difference..
 
We got back into town at around 5pm and seeing that we only had a handful of nuts and sultanas each for lunch, we decided to have an early but slow dinner at an Italian restaurant recommended by Charlie, one of the owners of our hotel. The food there was superb, especially the tiramisu - Brian and I both agree that it was the best we've ever had.. yum!!
 
After dinner, we slowly made our way back to the hotel to collect our bags as we were leaving in a few hours on the overnight train to Amsterdam. What was suppose to be a 6 hour wait (yeah, still a long wait!! We contemplated checking our bags in at around 9pm then going to the movies to watch Indiana Jones, but decided a little late for that), ended up being 8 hours, as our train was delayed by 2 hours. We didn't end up boarding until 2am and we were dead tired..
 
 
 
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