Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Booties in Berlin

Day 155
The vacation had to end. No more lazy days and movies. I was here to travel and see stuff. I wanted to see something.

After breakfast and checking my email to confirm my evening plans I headed to Check Point Charlie. This is where the original checkpoint to the allied size of Berlin was. This is, however, not the original building or sign. Those are in the Allied Museum across town, and I saw them 6 years ago the first time I was here. Now you can get a stamp in your passport that was an actual GDR stamp. I wanted to get one, but I need to be careful about dates in my passport so I decided against it.

Eventually I wandered to Humbolt University. In the square across from the main building Hilter had several thousands books burned. There is now a memorial that is a room of empty book shelves, enough to put all the burned books. Nearby was the monument to those who have suffered from tyranny.

In Alexanderplatz there is a tv tower built by the GDR. Strangely, when the sun hits it, you can see a cross. The GDR tried to stamp out religious symbols so it was a bit of a joke on them.

I then had a very long walk to the East Side Gallery. This is the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still in its original place. There is just over one kilometer here. These have a lot of interesting bits of artwork on them, however there is also a lot of graffiti. It´s now illegal to break off bits of the wall, but there still seemed to be several people who were trying to take some of it home.

After I had crossed the Spree I found a really cheap internet cafĂ© and worked on blog for a bit. Once this was finished I headed back to the hostel for a bit of a rest. I had been walking for about 5 hours at this point and needed to sit down. I just hadn´t taken the time into consideration. There is only one pot at the hostel and I had to wait some time before I could make my dinner. I had just enough time to eat and clean up before running for the s-bahn.

I met Jason, a fellow bootie who is now living in Europe, at a really nice beer garden. I hadn´t seen Jason since a bootie meetup in Chicago about 2.5 years ago. It was really fabulous to be able to catch up.

I must have been more tired than I had thought, because I fell asleep and missed my stop. By the time I realized this the s-bahn had closed. I really had no idea where I was. After one bus in a the wrong direction I found a bar that was open and didn´t look scary. They told me where I needed to go and the correct bus to get on. I even learned a new German word, hoffen, to hope. I hope that I get back before sunrise.

The bus didn´t take me to my hostel, but a few streets away. As unhappy as the whole thing made me, I didn´t once feel the need to panic. Travel seems to be calming my need to overreact.

When I got back to the hostel I fell exhausted into my bed.

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