As I mentioned before, I am in Berlin right now and I have to end a rumour that I was hearing before arriving here. I was told by many that Berlin doesn't have much to do attraction wise and is boring. That is completely false from my point of view! There really is a lot to do and the city is absolutely gorgeuos. The contrast of West and East Berlin was the main thing that caught my eye.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Anyway, before talking about Berlin I have to mention my brief stay in Copenhagen. The train was so long from Oslo to Berlin that we couldn't do it in one day so we spent a night in Copenhagen. All I have to say is that I wish I could have spent more time here. But that'll have to be for another trip. Copenhagen was a really nice city with a lot of bikers! It seemed like everyone was either walking or riding their bike to where ever they had to go. Toronto should be more like this. Even Berlin is the same. There are designated paths between the road and sidewalks for bikers.
I have to admit though, that I did eat at the BK Lounge (Burger King); in fact I did twice in two days. But that will be it!! I shouldn't be eating at places that I already have eaten at at home. Until Berlin the food really hasn't been too much different than home. Berlin at least offers a variety of sausages that are absolutely delicious!
A highlight of Copenhagen was Christiania. I learned about this area in a class at university and it was really cool to actually see it in person. Christiania is basically a town within the city where there are no laws and anything goes. That being drugs, mobs, prostitution, etc. I have to admit I was scared walking through there but it had to be done. Christiania is a social experiment started by the government and has been near to closing. Inside there is tons of graffiti and the buildings are all falling apart. It was very cool walking through an anarchist town and making it out alive (i'm just kidding, there wasn't any worry of that).
Alright, before this post turns into a novel I'll start talking about Berlin now. If you're ever in Germany, you have to see Berlin. we have spent 2 and half days here and we could have spent more. The highlight of Berlin is definitely the free walking tour (tips are given at the end). It was almost 4 hours long and took us around the major sites of Berlin. Most major cities in Europe have these free walking tours. Of the sites we saw the most interesting is the Berlin Wall. It's hard to believe there was a wall encircling West Berlin. The escape stories are very interesting too.
In the first years following the erection of the wall (about 1964) a man one day decided he was going to walk through one of the checkpoints and move to the west side. He had no plan except just to walk right through. Once seeing the enforcement at the gate he decided that was a bad idea. Upon arrival to the gate an officer stopped him and asked for his passport. The man said that when he cam from the west side earlier that week the other checkpoint took and held on to his passport. The officer was hesitant to believe this so he went to the phone to check with the other gate. While inside, a second officer came up to the man and asked what was going on. The man said "I'm trying to get to the east side but I forgot my passport in my apartment on the west side." The second officer then let him go ´back´ to the west side to get his passport.
After the wall was torn down in 1989 a lot of development came to Berlin. I personallyfound this very interesting, seeing the contrast between svoiet style architecture and capitalist buildings. Above is a picture of the Sony Center, one of the 10 billion dollars worth of developments at the time. Along with the Sony Center, we went to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum today. This was more about the Berlin Wall and is good for a quick visit.
The nightlife in Berlin is one of the best in Europe so we couldn't pass up a pub crawl that happened last night. It was lot of fun until toady when I was super tired but it was worth it. We met a some people from Richmond Hill and a guy from Florida (the Amsterdam guy). He loved Amsterdam so much that all he talked about was Amsterdam. But he was a good guy.
I'm so tired right now that I can't remember anything else to say about Berlin. This is probably a good spot to stop anyway. My next post probably won't be until after Munich. Tomorrow we leave to Nuremburg, then Wuryberg, then Rothenberg, and finally Fussen before arriving at Oktoberfest. I'm looking forward to seeing the German countryside. Anyway, until next time, cheers!