oct. 9, 2000
I traveled with 10 other people (6 guys and 3 girls), which was much different then 2 or 3 other people! For the first time, i wasn't the one figuring out everything, where to go, how to get there, etc. although i still helped. we took a night train that left around 8:30 on thursday night. didn't get much sleep but i managed a couple hours before we got there around 6:30AM. We spent awhile wandering around trying to find breakfest, then split up. The guys went to the zoo, and the girls and Peter and i headed to the brandenburg gate, where napoleon marched through, then hitler, then the wall was first built and then torn down there! then we saw bebenplatz where hitler had the first book-burning. ironically it's outside the university! next, we went to the Pergamon Museum. My favorite thing there was the Ishtar Gate from Babylon. it was amazing because i didn't even think that anything from babylon even still existed, and here was this huge reconstructed gate and parts of the walls of nebuchadnezzars palace, stuff i'd read about in the Bible....2500 years old!!!! it was truly amazing!
then we had lunch in the museum cafe and headed to the natural history museum where we saw the largest put together dinosaur skeleton in the world! pretty cool! then, an art museum where a Picasso exhibit was on display, a collection of his artwork titled "The Embrace"....they were basically a bunch of paintings and drawings of people kissing and worse. let's just say that as picasso got older he got more and more perverted. he was basically a dirty old man who could paint.
after that, we met up with the other guys and checked into our hostel and rested for awhile before going to dinner, which we didn't end up eating till like 10:15! i had really wanted to go clubbing but everyone else was too tired and didn't want to spend the money, so i was bummed!
the next day, we got a semi-late start as we slept in some. first off, we went to the egyptian museum and saw the bust of Queen Nerfititi which is like 3,000 years old and truly beautiful. then it was on to the reichstag, (their version of the white house, which was just finished like last year!) we went to the top of this glass dome on the roof, from where we had a neat view of the city!
next, we tried to go to the holocaust museum which was in our travel books and was supposed to be finished this year...well, we found the site and they haven't even started yet, now they're looking at 2003! so, it was on to the topography of terror exhibit which is located on the site of the former gestapo, S.S., and S.D. headquarters. the jewish extermination and much more was all planned here. and the torture of so-called criminals of the Reich took place in the upstairs offices of the buildings. the exhibit was a series of pictures and captions chronicling the nazi regime there and their crimes. for a buck, i bought a book that translated everything, and it was absolutely fascinating.
a block away was the checkpoint charlie which was also incredible. we were in there like an hour and a half, and i could've spent so much more time there. they had so much to read about the many escape attempts. plus, stuff about human rights movements all over the world, including the story of prague's peaceful rise against communism, and a guy who burned himself alive to the death, to prove a point...incredible! it was also very weird to be reading so much about this most famous checkpoint of the wall and see the pictures and watch the movies, then look out the window at the very spot where the checkpoint stood, and where an 18-year old boy died trying to escape, as the world watched.
next, it was on to the East Side gallery, the largest remaining portion of the Berlin Wall (1.6 km i think) there are 28 murals on the wall, 1 for each year the wall was in existence. many of them are greatly decayed, but there were some neat ones still in existence! it was a very surreal thing to walk along the wall, and think that only a little over 10 years ago, people couldn't even see over the wall to the other side, let alone walk the few feet to the other side. i mean, i can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to have a wall down the middle of my city, complete with guards and all, that people died trying to cross! anyway, walking along it was quite an experience.
we then had dinner around 11:30 and went to bed.
i finally made it back to heidelberg just before midnight, then walked the 3 miles back to moore haus in the rain!