Thursday, October 12, 2006

Berlin - Day 1

Unlike previous cities (except Vienna) where we saw much of what there was to see, I missed much of Berlin and only saw a few pieces of the city. I am fairly sure that we only spent two days there, but one of them was completely wasted. I even lost a roll of film or two from that part of the trip. So my memory of it is kinda weak.

The area that we seemed to use as our rendez-vous point was Breitscheidplatz and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The church had been bombed during WW2 and has been kept as a memorial. I am fairly certain our youth hostel was near there.

On our first day, we went directly to Checkpoint Charlie. The Berlin Wall had only fallen two years earlier. Much of it had already been dismantled, but a forty foot section remained at Checkpoint Charlie. Nearby is the Mauermuseum. An excellent museum about international non-violent protest that we did not have enough time to fully explore. They chronicle many famous leaders of peace such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King. It was quite moving.

As a funny aside, I had sent home 20 or 30 rolls of film at one point. My father eagerly developed them in order to have pictures of me in front of something famous. Now I was not a fan of doing that because it seemed so touristy. But I did have someone take my picture in front of the Berlin Wall because everyone in our group was doing it and I was still a bit in awe after leaving the museum. It turned out to be the ONLY picture of me in front of anything in the 700 to 1000 photos my father developed. So he made a few 8x10's of it, framed them, and gave them to my mother, sister, and myself. The problem is that I look horrible. I hadn't shaved in a while so I looked scruffy and I had this silly smirky smile on my face. Oh well. I learned my lesson and took pictures of myself in front of various tourist sites along the rest of my stay.

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