Thursday, August 6, 2009

Berlin - walking tour and other things

Day 28 Tues. 4 Aug.2009
There won't be many pictures for today because once again I forgot to charge my camera battery and only got a few in until the battery was exhausted. I ended up taking many pictures that I would have taken, later in the week when doing other activities.

I headed to Brandenburg Gate to join the free walking tour. After wandering around the Alexanderplatz where I needed to change trains for ages, I finally gave up and headed for the 100Bus which I knew would take me there.

There were quite a lot of people with more and more arriving for the next 20 minutes. I managed to get in the first group as most of the early people were taking the Spanish tour. So I was happy when the first tour guide - Rachel, an American dancer who has lived in Berlin for the last 4 years started us off. She was very good and told all sorts of stories and information about the history of Germany and Berlin. It was not just focused on the last 70 years, but she started with the whole history of the Brandenburg Gate itself.

We walked around to several of the sites and went to this Jewish Memorial which was really quite impressive. It is basically a large abstract sculpture covering a large city block.

After the tour I talked to her a bit a bout dance in Berlin and asked if there were any performances that week and she told me a bout a free performance that night which was a bunch of different artists showing things they are working on.

I went over to the Deutsches Historisches Museum - German history, where I spent the rest of the afternoon. It was fascinating and way more than I could see in one day. Starting with the Celts and other tribes there, there were lots of artifacts, pictures, clothes, models and explanations. After looking at and reading everything for about an hour I cam to a map of the museum. I felt that I must be about 3/4's through but when I looked at the floor plan, realized I was only 1/4 of the way through the museum! Then I stopped reading everything and picked up my speed. I left when they closed at 6:00, exhausted and made my way back to the hostel.
After a bit of a rest I made my way to this dance performance that Rachel had told me about. After a slight 35 minute delay while I took the M-tram instead of the S-bahn by mistake (I realized when the stop that I thought was the 3rd one never came and we seemed to be out in the suburbs of Berlin that I better get off, cross the street and head back to Alexanderplatz!). I did manage to find the place, it was informal, a space with people inside watching the performance and lots of people outside chatting and smoking. The pieces were not boring and definitely avant-garde. I can't say I really liked any of them but it was great being there and seeing all the people in the audience as well. Rachel was there and happy/surprised to see that I had come. The whole show wasn't supposed to start until 9:00, I got there at 9:50 and they were on the 2nd of 4 pieces, so it didn't end until after 11:00. That is why I was arriving back so late and still up when my new roommates arrived from a late train.

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