Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Berlin, Day Two, is Conquered

Well, Berlin isn’t my favorite city. I’ve spent a day roaming the city a bit and have learned that it is not at the top of my list. I have decided though that this is perfectly acceptable because every place can’t be a favorite – then it wouldn’t actually be a favorite right? Right! Despite my late start to the day I actually managed to see quite a bit. I bought a Berlin Welcome card that is good for 72 hours which gives me free transportation as well as discounts at museums. I think for transportation alone it’s a pretty good deal. I was able to see several sights, museums, churches, and of course, climb a dome and a tower! I think that’s all I ever do anymore is climb up things.

I started off my day with a breakfast of yogurt, granola, nectarines, bread, and milk. Delicious! I hopped online and checked my e-mail and was then off. I talked to Eddie on my way into town but didn’t actually get my day started (in town and ready to go) until after 11am. The first thing I did in town was find a tourist information desk. I asked them about the post office situation regarding my Russian visa and it turns out that there is a post office at the Zoo Train station where I had asked my letter to be sent. I’m going to go there first thing tomorrow and see if they have it. I’m saying a prayer that it is there.

I then headed across the street to the TV Tower. It’s kind of like the Space Needle. I think it’s higher, but I’m not really sure. The viewing platform was at 207 meters but I think the whole tower stands somewhere just over 230 meters. How that compares to the Space Needle you’ll have to tell me. I bought my ticket but had to wait about half an hour before it was my turn to go up. So, I sat in the park area outside the tower, ate my lunch, and planned my day out a bit. At the top of the tower it was pretty cool to see everything in the city. I took lots of pictures so that I can have my panoramic view of Berlin – hopefully it all works.

After I came down from the tower (via elevator, phew) I walked around a bit. I tried to go to a palace that is now an art museum, but couldn’t find it. I didn’t care that much about it; I was just going because it was free. So, I gave up and continued on to the Berlin Dome. On the way I came across a Hemp Museum, which made me laugh, and some spectacular views of the Dome and the city area around it. (Pictures will be up on Facebook shortly if I can get the internet to cooperate.) I really like the Berlin Dome. It’s impressive inside and out. As I continued my tour of the church I discovered that there was a climb ahead of me. Not only did I get to see the dome from above inside, but also got to go outside to the ledge around the dome and walk around. It was a beautiful day and I had fun taking pictures.

I’m not sure what it is about domes and churches but I really enjoy seeing the splendor inside and the way they are decorated and the architecture. I think I’d rather climb to the top of a dome and see the city rather than spend time in a museum. It’s weird.

When I came down from the dome I found my way to two more churches. One that has been gutted and how holds statutes that had free admission and also to St. Katherine’s Church, which is the oldest Catholic church in Berlin. It was not so impressive from the outside, but the inside was pretty cool. There was a woman sitting outside the door with her baby in her lap asking me for money in Spanish. I normally don’t give to beggars, but I did give her 1 euro. I hope that she is using it to provide something nutritious for her and her child and not spending it on some bad habit. I know there are truly people in need out there but I have no idea what the system is like her in Berlin for the homeless. She was actually the first person I have seen in such a state, which now that I think about it, is somewhat surprising for such a large city.

After visiting these two churches I found my way to a fourth church and then stumbled into a dome that I thought was another church. It turns out it was some government building or something like that. It had a bunch of information (all in German) about the different government systems that Berlin has had and talked mostly about since the wall has come down - at least that’s what I could gather about it. I didn’t stay long since it didn’t interest me and I didn’t really understand it. I just used the toilet and left. J

I made my way to the U-Bahn station (my toe was hurting me) and went to the Jewish Museum. I have been told that this museum is the most comprehensive museum on Judaism. It was very interesting. I enjoyed that it did not just focus on the Holocaust, but started from the earliest known Jewish settlements in Germany all the way through today. There was some information I already knew, but quite a bit that I did not. One thing I thought was funny was that the museum basically implied that the “story” of Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss is Anti-Semitic. I think the idea was that phrases like a “Judas kiss” have Anti-Semitic roots, but the translation from German to English didn’t work so well.

After I finished with the Jewish Museum I was tired so I headed to the grocery store to buy my beer for the evening, some sausages, and jam for my bread in the morning. Again, I like grocery shopping.

I then hopped back on the U-Bahn and headed back to my hostel. It’s been a pretty quiet evening. I made a delicious dinner and was able to take a shower so I don’t have to worry about that in the morning. Now I am working on my update and trying to put pictures on Facebook. I just have to figure out a rough idea for my day tomorrow and then I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I will make my final decision about if I will go to Munich on Saturday or stick with my original plan to go to Cologne. There is a possibility that some housing in Munich might come through, but I’m not holding my breath. I feel like God is going to answer my prayer about the Russian Visa letter and that is WAY more important than being at Oktoberfest in Munich. There is an Oktoberfest celebration that is starting here on Thursday. I think that I may just visit that one on Thursday evening and call it good. We’ll see though. There is still time to make that decision.

It’s officially been two weeks since I arrived at the airport in Seattle to head out on my journey. Tomorrow afternoon it will be two weeks in Europe. It’s crazy to think it’s only been that long! It feels like I have been here much much longer. I am eager and looking forward to visiting with Elizabeth in Russia (assuming everything works out), hopefully seeing a family friend in Vienna, and of course I am looking forward to Eddie joining me in Paris. It’s good to know that in a month I will be with a friendly face. Well, that’s it for now. I hope you all have a splendid day while I head off to bed.

Until tomorrow …

1 comment:

Eddie said...

I can't wait to be amongst all those guys in Paris around you, but more importantly, being the guy that gets to hold your hand.

free counter