Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin…
It’s just gone 5am, and I’m at Berlin Hauptbahnhof awaiting my train to Nuremberg, where I am meeting my parents after they fly in from London.
I didn’t update all of yesterday (well, all of today for me, I still haven’t slept) because by the time I arrived back at the hostel, I was feeling horribly ill.
Let us go back to the beginning of Sunday.
I had set my alarm for 0830, but when I was woken up by the slightly odd Asian lady at 0530 as she got ready, I changed it to 0930, since she had already kept me awake half the night with her snoring. Which I could still hear with my earplugs in.
I woke up, but not to an alarm. I sleepily checked my phone, which informed me that it was 1124. Wait, what? So I checked my phone. There was the alarm. Set for Monday, not Sunday.
I was ready pretty quickly, and had my breakfast/lunch with the two Australian guys I’d met the night before. They had been out until 2am, whereas I’d stayed in and gone to ed by midnight, so it was a little awkward that I was up after them.
I headed out pretty quickly, well aware that this was my only full day in Berlin and I wanted to see as much as I could.
I took the S-bahn to Friedrichstrasse, and walked down Unter den Linden towards der Brandenburger Tor. On the way. My fairly peaceful morning was interrupted by a rather large and not overly loud protest against the war in Syria, and something to do with the way the US treats their prisoners in places like Ashraf, I think I read. I photographed it and continued.
Der Brandenburger Tor is pretty awesome, although my photo was ruined a little by a large stage being erected in front of the attraction. I continued on and located the ‘Denkmal der ermordeten Juden Europas’, a memorial to the murdered Jew of Europe. It’s fairly incredible and spans a large area of ground. It’s made up of large rectangular stone slabs, to represent the millions of Jews who were murdered. The slab are all the same length and width and are arranged in a neat grid pattern, but vary in height from 30cm to about 3m. This means that from straight on, it looks ordered, but when seen from an angle it looks slightly chaotic. This is supposed to represent the Nazi order, apparently, although I forget the actual quote I saw.
What annoyed me, though, were the people there. You can sit on the slabs, but not stand on them. Sure, small children will want to get on top of them, and most parents will tell them to get down, generally so they don’t injure themselves. However, it was other adults, people older than me, that made me angry. Running between them playing hide and seek, and standing on them and jumping fr the top of one to another.
It’s not a play park. It’s a MEMORIAL. To over 2 million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazi rule. I would have hoped that people would have slightly more respect.
I continued onwards, next to Gendarmenmarkt, where you can see the Opera House and the French and German cathedrals, which are amazing architecturally. It was then to Checkpoint Charlie. I found it a little ironic that just as you enter the old American sector, you come face to face with a McDonald’s…
I had my picture taken with the checkpoint ‘guards’, and was hit on by the guard who took the photo. He concluded I was cold (which I was) ad decided to hug me. And after I mentioned something about my boyfriend being in Paris, he responded with ‘he is far away, but I am here.’ I’m okay, thanks, mate.
I headed for Alexanderplatz for the Rathaus, Berliner Dom and Fernsehturm. On the way I came across a book fair outside Humboldt Universität (which I also photographed). I looked through the €2,95 classics, and decided that Dickens and Shakespeare are hard enough in English, and Goethe and Kafka also fairly tough. I eventually settled on the lone copy of Alice im Wunderland. I’m sure you can figure out the English title.
After a currywurst, it was back on the S-bahn to the hostel. However, said currywurst did not react well with me. Either my messed up digestive system took umbrage with the sausage or the fries (or the curry…) but whichever way, I felt horrendously sick.
I arrived back to the hostel, and concluded on a nap. No, the old Asian lady was already having a nap. And snoring. Instead, I lay on a sofa in the common room, reading my German Cosmo I bought in Zurich and feeling sorry for myself.
Fast forward a few hours and many cups of tea, and I packed up my bags and readied for departure. One of the other hostel dwellers – Martin – was leaving for work as I left, so he went with me to try to get me on my 0427 train. Sadly this did not happen, as 0427 came while I was a mere three stops away from Hauptbahnhof.
I’ll be getting the 0630, it appears! I’m sat in one of the cafés within the station as it begins to get busier, with my coffee and my Berliner. And if you know the ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ error, you will know that ein Berliner is – in fact – a doughnut.
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