Monday, February 04, 2008

Germany Blog - Day 4: 2/3 (Berlin Day One)

Today’s entry will be both short and weird. First, I am using a German keyboard and the letters are not in the same place as an American keyboard so there will be some typos. Secondly, I am at the Sunflower Hostel where it costs 1 Euro for 20 minutes of Internet service. So this is going to be bare bones post. I will update it with more details when I return to Kamp-Lintfort on Tuesday night.

This morning I woke up at 5:15 to get ready for my trip to Berlin. We took the ICE, otherwise known as the Inter-City Express (AKA Bullet Train) to Berlin. It took about four hours and at times we were traveling in excess of 200 km/hour. Unfortunately it was very hot and I got motion sick about an hour into it.
I was able to break out with my German phrases and speak to two different individuals. One was asking directions and there other was a bistro attendant. The first was amused. The second, not so much.

Upon arriving in Berlin, we swung by the Sunflower Hostel to drop off bags. It was an interesting place, to say the least. I will describe it more later. Let’s just note that the interior designer must have enjoyed the 60´s, at least pharmaceutically:

From there we jumped the S-Bonn (subway) and headed to the Alexanderplatz. It was a combination of a mall and train station. The first mission was to grab some lunch, and I went with Herr Fabricius, and Frauen Canavan and Lohoff to the Pegano Bistro to have a Döner (pronounced derner). It was great. Very close to a Greek Gyro. Herr Fabricius said that I will have to try a different one on the other side of town, where they are made differently. I agreed that this would be a good idea because one can never be too thorough when studying a foreign culture. As said in "Necessary Roughness", "Eternal vigilance is the price of integrity." Upon returning to Alexanderplatz, Frau Canavan and I stopped into a store to get water (with or without gas - too funny). We ran into a few of the boys on the trip buying carbonated beverages that were a mix of cola and orange flavors. I tried some. Better than I anticipated.

Upon hearing that Kim had had lunch at Burger King, of course I berated her. It did not work as she had dinner at McDonald’s. Later on, I referred to her as Frau Pomp-Fritte (Miss French Fry). We visited the area where Americans controlled a sector and visited the Check Point Charlie Museum. It was really interesting. I wish we could have taken pictures, not that it would have mattered because my memory card fried and I lost 117 pictures. I had a really interesting conversation with Herren Ross, Hagan, and Frau Fogg. We discussed communism, propaganda, war, terrorism. It was like a walking Socratic Method experience. I enjoyed it very much.

The chaperones stopped to get kaffe (I was in serious serious need of caffeine). I didn't realize that it was the Balzac Coffee. I rather unfortunate name. Herr Sandman found this to be very amusing.

We hiked around Berlin and saw the Brandenburg Tor. It was really amazing (and big), especially at night. We hit the Alexanderplatz for dinner (Chinese in Germany - kinda weird, although it shouldn't be). We then hit the 200 M tall TV tower which gave us a HUGE view of all of Berlin. Fascinating.

Finally, back to the Sunflower Hostel to set up rooms and go to bed. Out of time. More later!

1 comment:

Lo Lo said...

I cannot EXPLAIN in words how much I am enjoying reading your German adventures. Keep 'em coming!

Oh yeah, don't get too excited about Johan ... I mean, after all, it's the METS.

... and in other news, GO GIANTS!

P.S. -- I don't suppose you mailed out my letters of recommendation before this big trip, did you? ;)