Then We Take Berlin

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Tour in front of the Neptune fountain
So I did wind up on a fat tire bike tour. Which, I should say, at 17 Euros, was overpirced and overrated. That said, it was fun to drive a bike around and catch a little bit of history from our guide, but after talking to Mike tonight, who went out with his friend from New Zealand, it sounds like he learned most of the historical stuff I did without paying 17 Euros. I think a lot of it depends on the people that you tour with though, and my group appeared to have suffered massive heart attacks the night prior and be neither dead nor ready to be alive once again. Which, in truth, is probably generous of me.

The last remaining tower guarding the Berlin wall
We went by the Neptune fountain, saw the library without books and the location of Hitler's first book burning, the East German traffic signal guys (red man, green man), the Berlin wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the last remaining guard tower, Reichstaag, the Soviet monument, and a whole unch of other stuff. Berlin is pretty much a sea of construction, and many of the buildings are still riddled with bullet holes and shell marks, which is interesting given that 1945 was 60 years ago. Berlin is $45 billion in debt though, so I suppose I understand why it's taking some time for them to get things back up to speed. Not to mention that their population is slowly falling.

USA vs China
After the tour, I went to see Canada defeat Brazil in the world volleyball championships going on, and strolled around a little more. I met up with Mike and his friend Simon later that evening and we hung around, saw a movie, and went to a beer garden. A good evening all around. The next day, Mike & I went to check out Museum Island, which is in really bad shape. One of the museums is still completely without its exterior finish thanks to some intense WW2 battling. Others are REALLY pock marked with shell blasts, rifle bullets, and shrapnel damage, sometimes whole pieces of stone are gone. It must've been quite intense here. We checked out the German National Gallery, which focused on WW2 and post-WW2, and was quite interesting.

Dynamite Dean fever spreads to Europe
Mike & Simon went to a concert they had tickets for already and so I was left to my own devices that afternoon. My intent was to his the Zoologischer Gardens but the rain and thunder put a stop to that, so I headed back to the hostel. En route, I heard some singing I thought I'd check out. I walked over, wearing my Dynamite Dean shirt, and encountered a group of 20-some Englishmen on a dual-stag party who, immediately after I passed, started singing in unison, "Dy-na-MITE! DY-NA-mite!" I took a bow and conducted them a little before they insisted I stop for a beer and put on one of their shirts. Who am I to argue? So I hung around with them in the afternoon, drinking and being merry and trying to learn as many of their songs as I could. I went back to the hostel with the intent of going on this pub crawl, but I was too tired and wound up just sleeping the night off pretty much.

Today, I'm going to check out the Zoologoischer Gardens and I may go on a Third Reich tour or maybe just explore. This city is strange, just when I think I've got it figured it out, it changes on me like some sort of quantum game. And then tomorrow off to Copenhagen on the train. My Scandinavian tour starts on the 28th, I hope I have a good group to travel with up there. Still not sure what I'm going to do after that tour. Maybe more of Eastern Europe, maybe a little more Sweden, maybe fly to Italy or Greece. I'd like to get myself to Corfu for a few days, and I'd like to be in Greece at least for a bit of the summer, so I don't know. As usual, one day at a time.

<Berlin Photos>


the_dutch said...

hey Dean,

where did you get the php (I assume) calendar from?

Dean said...

Hey Dutch, send me an email and I´ll tell you...

Yann & the Anti-Regina Guerilleros said...

Are you in Scandinavia now? I hope people there are not as we French imagine them to be - wild creatures living and eating like bears :) Anyway, enjoy your trip, our thoughts travel with you.