Tuesday, June 22

Ich bin ein Berliner

Germans never tire of chuckling as JFK's gramatical error in that speech, he should have said 'Ich bin Berliner' I think, but what he said actually means that he is a 'Berliner' which is the name of type of jelly dohnut pastry. Har har. Anyways....
Berlin was really great. I wish I could be studying there for a semester instead of little bitty Münster, but at least I get to visit :) Its such a fun city, its so much more modern than most European citys but it has so much history still. It is constanly changing, it already was different from when I was there in high school. Its amazing all that they've done since the reunification. We got there on friday morning and checked into our Hotel in Charlottenburg which is in the west. It was the funniest hotel! We buzzed at the door and as we were walking up the red carpeted stair case we could hear a german woman calling 'Halloooooooooooo....' it is run by these two rather roundish women who spoke english with a funny german accent and were always smiling and jokeing. They were like cartoon charactors or something. The one sho showed us to our rooms chanted 'follow me follow me follow me' in a sing song voice as she took us down the hallway. Even the room itself was kinda funny, the bed was a futon type matress really low to the ground but the cieling was really really high so that I felt like I was lying at the bottom of the grand canyon. It even echoed a bit. We just got lunch and took a nap before heading out. We went toward the city center and ended up at the Sony Center which is a big funky looking glas structure with stores and movie theaters and resturants. Theres a couryard type area food court in the middle where they were about to show a soccer game on the big screen so we sat down there for dinner. It was really fun, there were tons of people including some Bulgarians and some Danish (the two teams playing) who were going crazy cheering for the game and chanting fight songs and what not. Think 'Daneamark Danemark Danemark' to the tune of 'be kind to your web footed friends...' Good times. the area was under heavy security, luckily there were no soccer hooligans about. After the game we headed to the Reichtag, the german capital building. We went in and walked up the glas dome that was built on the top in I think 1997. The origional dome was destroyed in a fire after WWI presumably by the budding Nazi party, but Hitler attributed it to the Jews I think. We read so much german history its hard to keep strait. Anyway, it has a nifty glas dome now that you can walk up and get a nice panorama of the city and read about the history of the building. I did it in high school and the most memorable thing about the view was the amount of construction cranes on the horizon especially in the east. there were still a lot this time, though eaqually on both sides. They are working on a fancy new glas train station to be completed 2007. After that we walked and walked pretty far to Alexanderplatz and the base of the big Fehrnsehturm, television tower, but it wasn't open to go up anymore. We soon the S bahn back to our hotel area and went to a nice little Jazz club where we sat and had a drink and listened to a really good Jazz quartet. Then Saturday we got up early to go wait in line outside the New Galery which is currently housing the MOMA from New York while it undergoes construction in the US. I realize that I could probably have just waited to see in in NY sometime... but I figured as long as we were there... but we ended up waitingin line for a LONG time before we saw it. After that we got a very late lunch and then went to see the remaining part of the Berlin wall which now has an exhibit called 'Topography of Terror' They excavated the basements of some of the Nazi headquarter buildings near the wall and now its filled with pictures and information about atrocities commited by the Nazi regime. It was really interesting. Then we went to the Check point Charlie Museum which is a privatily owned museum focused on the time while the wall was up and houses all sorts of memorabilia such as the make shift hot air balloon one family used to try to get accross and cars specially desigened so that a person could be smuggled accross hidden within somewhere. We went back and had a nice dinner at a spanish resturant near the hotel and watched a bit of another soccer game. Sunday we went first to the Pergamon Museum which is one of my favorite sites in Europe. It has a big reconstructed section of the gates of Babylon and also part of a Greek altar and a Roman marketplace along will a lot of other ancient artifacts. Plus its nice to have a boyfriend who majored in Ancient Civilazions and Greek :) We also went to the Old national galery and saw lots of paintings from the 19th century. Then we took a break in the Lusgarten before heading to the Tempodrom to see NORA JONES!!!!! the concert was really good, she was great to see live. It seems like just sitting at a piano it would get dull, but she was up a lot and the rest of the band is great too. It was fun :) Monday we set out to find the Soviet War Memorial that Eric was interested in seeing. First we walked through the Teirgarten and found a Soviet memeorial, though not the one we were looking for. Then is started POURING. Luckily we were right near a little museum that happened to be showing and exhibit of Charlse Chegal which was really really good. it liked it a lot! After luch we took the train to the big Soviet Memorial which is way way out in East Berlin. It is a huge park area with a giant Stalinesque statue of a Russian soldier rescuring a child in one arm and smashing a swastica with a sword in the other. There are also a set of large freezes along the sides of the park depicting Soviet involvement in the war and how the came in and rescued the germans. It was interesting to see that side of the war. There are something like 50,000 Russian Soldiers burried there. After that we just walked through the shopping area on Kurfursentdam Staße and got some dinner at a nice place by our hotel, picked up our bags and headed to the train station. It was a fun and educational trip. I love Berlin, you should go!

Today is Eric's Birthday!! He's 23! An old man! JK :) The concert was his real present, but I think I'll get him a cake or something today. We're getting together later with a woman who wanted to meet me and practice her English. She spent a year or so in MN and wants to go back to the US.

Tomorrow Shannon is coming!!! Yay! German is also playing the Chez republic so maybe we'll hit up a Fußball party somewhere. Shannon, Eric and I are all going to Ampsterdam this weekend! yikes, so much traveling! Then Eric is leaving next week :( to go home before he goes to England for his program at Oxford (I love my smarty pants boyfriend!) Just two weeks after that I'll be off to London with my parents! After that I'm going to have to finally settle down and get some work done.... right.

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