Thursday, September 10, 2009

Famous Sites and Funny Stories

I feel much better this morning after a decent nights rest. I slept much better. I’m not sure if I was more tired or if people were more considerate – perhaps both? No one turned the light on which was nice, but there was some rustling in the night. Also, the snoring either was more minimal or I was able to tune it out better – who knows!

Yesterday my day was very full. I began with an adventure to a different part of the city near the Berlin Zoo in order to find the post office where my visa letter for Russia was supposed to have been sent. I had read online that the post office was no longer there but someone in person told me that it was. I decided just to go down there and see if I could find it. Luckily there was a post office there AND they had my letter! Yea!

After I had that all figured out I got back on the train and headed out to a palace and museum further to the west of Berlin. I went to the Berggmen Museum which has several Picasso, Matisse, and Klee works. I got in as a student (a savings of 3 euro) and enjoyed the museum immensely! I’ve always loved Picasso’s work and am learning that I rather enjoy Matisse’s work as well. After I finished there I walked across the street to Schloss Charlottenburg and ate lunch in the palace courtyard. I walked around a bit in the gardens and took several pictures.

I found my way back to the S-Bahn and U-Bahn and headed to the Brandenburg Gate. I explored that area and the Holocaust memorial for a bit before I went in search of a reasonably priced charm for my bracelet. I was successful in finding a bracelet that had a charm on it (I’ll just take the charm off the bracelet to put it on mine when I get home). I then had about 45 minutes to kill before my free walking tour of the city began, so I sat on the side of the street and began to journal.

A funny thing happened.

I’m sitting there writing away and I notice that someone is standing next to me. I look up at an older gentleman (probably in his late 50’s or early 60’s) and discover he is reading my journal! I looked at him puzzled for a moment and then said, “hello?” to which he replied by reading the first line of my journal! He then laughed, said something in German and then said, “I was wondering if you were writing in English” and then walked away. His friend (also an older guy) was standing on the sidewalk near us and laughed, said something to me in German, shook his head, and walked away. I didn’t really know what to do other than just sit there confused. Very funny though.

The walking tour I went on was fantastic. They have them in other cities, so I’m going to do my best to go to others whenever I can. They were super informative and they’re free! Yes, you tip according to what you think it was worth/can afford, so I gave the guild 5 Euros, which I’m sure everyone else gave him at least that and there were over 20 people there. So for 3 hours of his time he’s making decent money. I learned all about the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial, Hitler’s bunker where he shot himself, the Berlin Wall, Check-Point Charlie, the government of Germany (past and present), and all kinds of other tidbits! I even discovered that Germany as a whole is a younger nation than America. It was not Germany until the early 1800’s, before that it was part of Prussia. (Shera, I know you are shocked to discover that I did not know this – kind of like my revelation about the Soviet Union back in college).

After I finished my tour I headed back to the Brandenburg Gate and over to the Reichstag to climb to the top of the glass dome and see the Parliament form above – granted it was after working hours, but the empty seats would be there at least. On the bus on my way to the gate a Georgian (the country not the state) sat next to me and proceeded to hit on me. As I told Eddie later in the evening, either he was hitting on me or he was trying to “take” me. Don’t worry – I dodged his inquisitive questions and declined to give him my phone number, meet up with him later, or tell him where I was staying. I’m a savvy solo traveler.

At t Reichstag I waited in line for almost 45 minutes before I made it inside (tight security measures and whatnot only allow so many people in at a time). I got to take some fun pictures of the city at night and then headed back to my hostel for the evening. I didn’t get back until after 9 and it was quite dark. Fortunately Eddie called right as I was getting off the train so he “walked” me home in the dark. I was so tired last night from all of my adventures that I didn’t stay up too late.

I had planned to work on my “re-working” of my German schedule last night, but instead decided to put it off until this morning. I think that was a good decision as I was able to focus a bit more on what I was doing and not be distracted by my fatigue. I’ve been working on that all morning, uploading pictures to facebook, and now updating the blog.

I’m going to head out to the Berlin Oktoberfest in a few minutes and then am going to tour the Altes Museum this evening after 6 (many of the museums in Berlin are free on Thursday evenings from 6-10). This museum has the bust of Queen Nefertiti (I was mistaken before when I said it was in Copenhagen somewhere – I must have flipped to the wrong page in my notes while I was reading them in Copenhagen). Tomorrow I am going to Wittenburg for the day to see where Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church and I’m sure there will be many “touristy” things to do there.

Saturday the plan is to head to Munich. I’m still waiting to hear back about housing options and what not, but I have several requests out to Couch Surfing hosts and I’m sure by this evening that I’ll have some responses. If not, there are several hostels in Munich that have availability – just not very inexpensive options, so we’ll see. I’ll post an update tonight or tomorrow with information about my updated schedule of events so that you can all properly stalk me, don’t worry.


Shera said...

Hahaha... nice little fact :) a bit more understandable than not knowing the "thing about the Soviet Union" hehe ;)

Susan said...

I just watched Taken. I can see why your parents wanted you to watch it before you left! So it's a good thing you're being careful--I doubt your dad has the moves that that guy has!

anng said...

I know! I can just see my dad and Eddie trying to karate chop their way through Europe. My cousin did inform me though that if I was "taken" there would be a lot more family coming after me than just my dad. Aww ... how sweet of them all to care. :)

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