Berlin - day 34

Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
1
12
24
Trip End Nov 13, 2011


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Where I stayed
Berlin Mark Hotel
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
berlin walks, and potsdam tour

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Friday, September 9, 2011

ich bin ein defective - who woulda thunk?
 
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!
 
notes:

 -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
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_station#List_of_all_Berlin_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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Comments

Charon on

Hey now! It's not that cold here! I was wearing a T-shirt today!

Your perception of Berlin fashion is interesting. When I see someone fashionable and understated and "oh, I don't really care but I look great anyway, because I just have great style naturally ..." I know they probably spent hours in their closet putting that outfit together. And there is a lot of trend following too of course. Probably not that obvious at first, since a lot of young people buy vintage clothes ... which in itself is a trend too of course.

Ehem, didn't mean to ramble. I'm glad you like it here :D
But the weather report says it's getting colder, so you better buy some moon boots and maybe one of these furry Russian hats from a flea market? :p

naomi on

I'm finding your blogs riveting. Thanks for telling us just what it's like 'over there'.
It sounds terrific. Who knew?!
Keep warm, and stay safe. I do hope your knee will be OK.
Enjoy yourself. Be well.
Much love.

melissab2009
melissab2009 on

i recognise the travel weariness feeling.. and bizarrely i think every time ive experienced it, it has been at around the 4 week mark.. if you get thru this period you can push on indefinitely :)
HOWEVER, i am sure that the presence of viv and I will refresh you beyond belief, so just hold out for another week, we're on the way :)

I started tallying minutes to go as a joke but its almost exactly 10,000 minutes to departure for me.. very weird LOL

Laura (onetruefriend) on

Sounds pretty interesting. I never hear much about Berlin b/c I never talked to anyone that really went there. Glad you enjoyed it! Stay Safe!

Elke on

No naked guy picture? :( What a shame. And Berlin is so high on my to visit list, heard so many wonderful things about it...

Samita on

babahah I love that they mind personal space, yes they get points from me too :D I hope your knee doesn't bother you (much) anymore :)

nicky7a
nicky7a on

people who buy 'vintage' clothes are the same as those who buy 'antiques' - they buy used cheap stuff and call them vintage/antique to make themselves sound eclectic rather than cheap...real vintage clothing and antiques cost a small fortune...anyway, that's all defunct now anyway because further north than berlin everyone was so stylish it puts the rest of us to shame

nicky7a
nicky7a on

the knee healed, as did the foot i caught in the door of the ship crossing the Baltic...it was so so windy that the door smashed closed behind me, and my foot was still outside...i did that "la la la" thing, where you ignore it and it's like it's not hurting at all

nicky7a
nicky7a on

it'll be friday morning when you wake up and read this...your last day of work...wwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeee...and yes, i did get over the tiredness hurdle and now i feel like i'm floating through the days

nicky7a
nicky7a on

you should definitely go to berlin, it was fantastic :)

Claudia on

What on earth is wrong with eating boiled pork? o.O Is it the pork or the boiling?

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