Saturday, August 1, 2009


First, I wanted to make sure people know basically how to use the image webpage I have all the pictures on. I know it's a bit busy, but I like it because of the mapping feature mainly. I like being able to store where I took a picture exactly! But for some reason they like to make their system complicated. So you're looking at my blog and you click on the big collection of pictures from the day you want to view *Click* This takes you to my other webpage where the pictures are stored. If you just want to look through all the pictures from that day then click on the very first picture *Click* To flip through the pictures use the BACK button - the one that points to the left. And not the big round ones on the right side of the page above the map, but the smaller square ones above the photo. For some reason the BACK button takes you forward through the photos. The round buttons above the map are used for looking at other peoples photos from the same area. And if you want a larger version of my picture, click on the image again and you can see the full size. Hope that helps people if they were getting confused or annoyed!

We spent three days in Berlin. The main train station is a pretty big place so it was a bit confusing just trying to find our way out of there, and then the walk to our hotel was really long. But we passed by the huge Berlin Victory Column and the green fields and trees of Tiergarten Park. And bathing in the gentle caress of the afternoon sun, on the green grass not far from the sidewalk was a naked man. A naked man, in the park, on the side of a busy road, in the middle of Berlin, buck naked. Crazy! We looked it up once we arrived at the hotel and discovered that parts of the park are designated as places you're allowed to lay around nude. Kinda cool actually. We were also harrassed on the way to the hotel by people who would just cme up to you and ask "Speak English?" We managed to avoid whatever schtick they were running by staring blankly at them as we passed by, but they were all over the city. One even had a baby breastfeeding and her shirt pulled allt he way up as she walked around asking "Speak English?" Once we finally made it to the hotel and got our roo I headed straight to the bathroom. I must have eaten something bad or gotten some sort of bug because I was in there frequently for the rest of the night! It was bound to happen some time! So we just went to the store to get some food for the evening and stayed in. Our room was on the 5th or 6th floor and looked out across the roofs and sides of other buildings. One of the places nearby was a tall Mercedes building. On the top was a gigantic Mercedes symbol that slowly spins round and round all day and all night. It also lights up at night and it's quite bright. The light shone perfectly into our room and as it spun the light would dim and then get bright again, dim, bright, dim, bright. I found the whole thing to be too amusing to actually be annoying. It didn't really bother us all that much.

The next day - the 22nd - we started the morning with food from one of the food stands that are set up outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church each day. We tried a curry worst, which seems to be a popular Berlin food. As far as I could tell it was a sausage sprinkled with curry powder. Sounds simple, but it's surprisingly tasty. We looked at the church as well, which is beautiful in its halfway fallen apart state. The inside is covered in gorgeous frescos (I think they're called frescos - maybe I should call them mosaics, I dunno) depicting religious scenes and seemingly important people. And what historicl site would be complete without a gift shop? So yes, there was a gift shop as well. Oh, and outside we saw a kid that looked just like Ron Weasly! Poor guy. Although I always thoght Ron was cute. But after the church we walked back to see the Victory Column we had passed by the day before. It's a huge thing - 66 meters tall - with a big gold angel at the top. Apparently it was made to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War back around the 1870's. Then Hitler had it moved from it's original location to where it is today which is probably a good thing because it's old home was destroyed during WWII. And then the French wanted to demolish the thing after the war was over because of Hitler moving it to some Nazi-significant spot, but the British and Americans talked them out of it. Wow, see all the info you can find on wikipedia? What a great site! Back to Berlin though - we also walked around the big park known as Tiergarten. We saw some more naked people, and wouldn't you know it they were all men. I'm not surprised as I saw a girl laying out in a bikini have her picture sureptitiously taken by some giggling city gardener. Ick. We rested in the hotel for a bit then headed out for dinner. We found a sort of "fast food" pasta place that was alright. Oh, we did some people watching that night out our hotel window. We saw everything from people having sex to people going to the bathroom for 20 minutes, all behind frosted glass and thin curtains. It certainly made me think twice about how much people can see when you think they can't...

We went to another food stand by the church for breakfast. I got what's called a boulette (basically a more flavorful hamburger patty) and Chuck got some rostbratwurst. I still haven't figured out what all these sausage names mean. We wandered down the street a bit and saw an interesting "wiggly" sculpture. Otherwise the morning was pretty boring. But at about 4:00 PM we headed out again this time to east Berlin. First stop was Checkpoint Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie is the most well known checkpoint that existed between East and West Germany. The little checkpoint building that's standing there today isn't the original one - I think that's in a museum now - but the replica is still pretty neat. I have to say though, that the plain Berlin wall is more profound than Checkpoint Charlie. Parts of the wall are still standing here and there, just plain, flat walls of concrete. We went to a section known as Berliner Mauer which, along with a simple monument still has a section of wall where both walls are standing. I guess some sectios of the Berlin Wall had a sort of "dead zone" as I like to call it - the area between two walls that you would have to survive running through to make it to the other side. Even today you can only see this "dead zone" through a crack in the wall. So the Berlin Wall was interesting. After that we went to Museum Island where a number of government museums are housed. It was Thursday night which is when government museums are free to the public - coincidence or Sarah's meticulous planning? Hmmm. So we saw a bit of the Altes Museum, but mainly spent our time in the Altes National Gallerie. We even saw a few Monets! Nothing I recognized though. As you might guess, it was an art museum, full of paintings by people I'd never heard of (besides Monet). I was never schooled in the art of art so I didn't have a great capacity for appreciation, but I did like looking at each piece as I went by. As we walked back to the tram station we got to take a look at the various museums. They're all beautiful buildings, one of the most beautiful and impressive being the Berliner Dom. It isn't actually a museum, but a church and a big one. Just a big beautiful church!

Our last day we had planned on going to the zoo, but it rained all morning unfortunately. By the time the rain had finished there wasn't much time left to the day. We decided to go out to one of the nearby restaurants for dinner instead. When we left the hotel it was looking a bit dark outside and after a bit of walking we realized the sky was a smoky red color. We joked about how Armegeddon was coming as it started to rain. It seemed people in the streets were walking with a bit more panick in their step. It would have been a great backdrop to some religious horror movie. After some frustrated searching and price-checking we ended up at a busy Italian place. The service wasn't as bad as usual, and the beers were big and cold. We commented to each other on the fact that it seems to only cold drink you can get in Europe is a beer. So it ended up being a nice evening despite all the rain!

We've noticed that people in Europe and even the UK tend to roll their own cigarettes a lot more than in the States. Actually, it's almost unheard of to see people rolling cigarettes in teh States I think. But I've seen quite a few people rolling up their tabbacco over here. On one of our train rides through Berlin we saw three teenaged kids splitting up some tabacco and rolling it up, then sitting around with unlit cigarttes hanging out of their mouths. I personally thought they looked pretty stupid, but they seemed to think it was cool. I think smoking in general is more prevalent over here, and in Germany and the Czech Republic smoking laws seem to be more lax than in the UK or the USA. Just an interesting difference we've noticed. And in Berlin there are all these two meter tall bears painted in bright colors with different pictures and designs. Apparently they're called Buddy Bears and were all painted by local artists back in 2002 or so. After being on display together they were auctioned off to businesses or whoever wanted them and the money went to help children in need and now these bears are set all about the city in front of whatever business bought it. They're kinda cool. I took a picture with them each time I found a new one.

1 comment:

  1. I'm the sort of guy who loves to taste new stuff. Currently I am building my private pv panels. I'm making it all alone without the aid of my men. I'm utilizing the net as the only path to acheive this. I stumbled upon a truly amazing site that explains how to contruct pv panels and wind generators. The internet site explains all the steps required to solar panel construction.

    I am not sure about how precise the information given there is. If some guys over here who have xp with these works can have a look and give your feedback in the site it will be awesome and I'd extremely treasure it, cauze I extremely like [URL=]solar panel construction[/URL].

    Tnx for reading this. You people rock.