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The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Part II: Glory, Kinky Commies and the East Prussian Hypothetically Jewish Guy

Our stay in Berlin continued with a much nicer day. Now we could really start sight-seeing. Before that, we saw this in the aisle outside our room desperately trying to block out the light and sleep. Our quest for shampoo, as we had both forgotten it, was fruitful (seems so minor now... but was a big thing at the time :-P).

After a long walk through a Berlin park (I think we got lost, meh), we made our way to the Victory Column Round-About. On the outskirts of which were statues of the victorious generals/politicians of the Franco-Prussian War. Most noticeably the ever-sexy Bismarck. Even that monument is pretty big, me and Wyt spent a bit looking at the nooks and crannies of the thing and I had to take a pic of this guy. Very manly. We got a closer look of Victory and climbed up the thing. Took aaaages, once at the top we saw something which pretty much epitomizes Berlin and much of eastern Europe. The whole place is filled with reconstruction, building and rebirth. Let's remember this tower was built essentially as a nationalist dick-wag to France, you know, to say: "We won the war!! Neener neener you froggy pussies!" I wonder if the builders could have conceived something like this inside such a monument to the glorification of the nation.

We succumbed to temptation and watched a 3D IMAX movie in German, about Sharks and stuff, was neat. We walked around some more and found the unrepaired church. More walking and, inevitable for any trip to Berlin, we checked out the wall. Very ominous. We also saw checkpoint charlie, but thought better as it was obscenely expensive. And of course, we went by Wall Street. We stopped by the Berlin souvenir shop and spent loaaads of time there looking at busts of Bismarck and Queen Luise, flags of Prussia and Brandenburg and GDR stuff. I got me a GDR beltbuckle, Wyt got a Prussian flag. Not far from there we got souvenirs from a street-shop, the guy looked like your usual impoverished South Asian migrant.
Wyatt started haggling with him for a GDR flag. The price was 10 euro, but the guy accepted to drive it down to 9. Wyt's bargaining skills weren't bad, but while talking he had accidentally revealed the huge wad of 20 euro bills his dad had put in his wallet. I got an overpriced 20 euro item slightly too small for my head (I can here the jokes now) a kinky GDR hat.

We had seen this monument before, but now that it was a glorious day, we opted to the Reichstag again and go in. All of Berlin was dripping with similarly glorious neoclassical buildings. We had to wait in line a long time to get in, so I took a pic from (very) far. See the guy in the coat? We started talking, he was, I don't know, at least 80? We chatted a bit about Germany, Prussian Kings, his Balto-Old Prussian lineage and Teutonic knights. Lovely stuff, quite amazing we stumbled upon him. We visited the inside of the Reichstag with him and he offered us dinner in this Italian place. Was pretty cool, he told us of his experience, apparently he was from East Prussia (now part of Poland) and lived near an imperial estate. He fled the place after WW2 for Canada and had returned to catch up with others of his generation/area. He may have been Jewish on account of he asked us a couple of times if we visited the Jewish memorials and he kinda looked it. We told him of our trip, he seemed pretty impressed. Was really cool to meet him, really made the day 10x.


After dinner we practically had to force him to tell us his name and email. According to my notebook, it's "Mr M.Pflug". He gave us an email and scribbled this site. Weird! But upon inspection of the site, he is the husband of the namesake of the site, a Canadian artist who apparently knew Vieira da Silva. I'm looking at the site as I type this... I'm definitely going to email him now.

Now we zoom back to Berlin, he grabbed a taxi and we walked past Brandenburg gate and where they had setup a projector and movie about WW2. Was pretty surreal. We got back to the hostel soon after. The next day decided to go to Alexanderplatz with our American friends, I took this picture as it seemed somewhat like an epitome. We chatted at Dunkin' Donuts, the coffee and donuts were excellent. We contemplated going up the Alexanderplatz Radio Tower but figured we didnt have time before our flight to Krakow. It is perhaps the only bulding built by the Communists that looks sexy (better than our Liverpuddlian stick eh?).

After some goodbyes, we left for the airport. Cripes that was stressful. We were somewhat late, once in the airport, we fiddled with those fangled ticket distribution machines to get our tickets. That was hell. Then we had to find the gate, which was hard, 'cause they were redoing some stuff and the signs were all pointing the wrong way. Luckily a guy pointed us in the right direction, for some reason he spoke French. G'bye Berlin, next stop, the Kingdom capital of Poland, Krakow.

1 Comments:

Anonymous WYT said...

Alexander Platz TV Tower. Otherwise its pretty good.

5:33 PM  

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