My guidebook revealed that the first Sunday of every month was free admission day to all museums on the Mueseuminsl (Museum Island) in Berlin. Today was the first Sunday in June, so off to Museuminsel I went. On arrival, I found out that the info was out dated and that free admission is now restricted to the last four hours before closing every Thursday. So much for the $25, 6-kilo brick aka guidebook I am carrying. I intended to go to the museums anyway, I still get a student discount. I bought a student ticket for 7 Euro and spent the whole morning checking out all of them. I like art, but here I wasn’t into the art as much as I was fascinated by the massive amounts of Greek, Roman, Persian, Islamic and other artifacts and exhibitions. At one point while inside the contemporary art museum, I quit checking out the paintings to watch on of the German museum staff members. The guy was so uptight about people getting a step too close to the paintings you’d think the veins in his forehead were gouing to explode anytime now. Whenever a visitor approached a painting, he dashed to him/her from behind, freaked the living shit out of them screaming “DISTANCE, PLEASE DISTANCE…BEHIND THE LINE“, stressing every syllable of his words you could almost see the letters floating in the air. This was great i wanted to shoot video, but I was too scared to do so for he could’ve bit my head off if he saw me.
After ODing myself on ancient artifacts and modern art, I ventured out and wandered into that flea market near the museums. They sold all kinds of neat stuff. I bought a bunch of Soviet-era pin replicas and a Russian Pojlot made watch. Setting the time and date on it was a pain in the rear but the watch looks cool. I almost asked the vendor’s daughter out.
Check out the stamps on this envelope:
I met with Marc and Angela at 19:00 and we went out for dinner. We went to this Vietnamese place near Hackecher (sp?) Markt. They served pretty good food at very reasonable pricing. No wonder there was a standing wait list on tables. Marc and Angela told me about their trip to Thailand and how much they enjoyed it.
My last day in Berlin is tomorrow. Marc drafted a day plan for me to save on time and research. I went to Fredrich Str. (apologies to any Germans reading this, I am probably messing up the spelling of all place names) to check out Checkpoint Charlie and the museum by the same name. The museum had some pretty intense exhibits. There were all kinds of displays explaining various ways East Berliners devised to escape to the West. They used a hot air baloon, home made single-seater plane, home made SCUBA rigs, improvised hiding places like inside TV sets, suitcases, cupboards, etc. You name it, they tried it. They also showed the methods used to deter potential escapees. Viscous guard dogs on 80-meter leashes, silent alarms (yes, there is such a thing), self-firing guns and many others. Then there was the section dedicated to the success and failure stories of people trying to get to the other side of the wall. I was into that stuff. So much intense history there. Art museums are nice, but they don’t induce that kind of historical awe a museum of this kind does.
Check Point Charlie:
The Jewish Holocuast Memorial in Berlin:
I forgot where this was taken, but i think it had to do with a tribute to the fallen of WWII:
Part of the Berlin Wall:
I am pretty sure she was taking a picture of me . So I did likewise. its only fair
I checked out a few other places and later met up with Marc. We went for a walk in the now empty Fan Mile, go to the Potsdamer Platz where Marc explains that this whole place with its shiny buildings was built in about six years.
We go to one of the “beach bars” in Berlin, which are basically riverside outdoor pubs with sand and hammocks. We have a few Radlers (I love that stuff). Then we go to the Reichstag, a building with cool juxtaposition of old and new architecture.
I fly back to Cairo tomorrow. It seems it was only yesterday I was landing in Barcelona. That’s not fair, I want to travel some more! All in all this was a great trip, I really enjoyed it. I should be thankful I even get to travel for almost a month.
Next trip? South America…Asia…Central Africa? Who Knows? Can’t wait to go again.