Day 20: Berlin

I’m really more just passing through Germany to see Prague and Budapest before Italy. Its neat to see these parts of the world, but its hard to really SEE them without spending a whole lot of time, which I don’t particularly have. Germany’s points of interest to me just aren’t concentrated, or as compelling to me. In fact now I really appreciate France’s capitulation to Germany during WWII, all of their important landmarks in Paris and around the country were preserved and now 60 years after the war, though they might get a whole lot of grief for their lack of ability to wage war, their countries history and cultural importance is preserved and they are as prosperous as any other Western State, meanwhile Germany is smaller than it was after WWI, and smaller still than before that(parts like Alsace-Loraine are now part of France), and there is little left of interest in Germany that isn’t post WWII. Though in a somewhat related note part of me shivers when I see the number of German soldiers passing through train stations, part of me worries a little about that, but then part of my mind kicks in and reminds me that the US is very similar.

Today I woke up to pouring rain outside my window… I’m really looking forward to being south of the Alps in Italy and Greece. I really didn’t have a whole lot I wanted to see in Berlin, its mostly just the hub of travel in part of this world to me. I planned to see Checkpoint Charley and a museum of Antiquity that had a number of interesting artifacts from classical and the pre-classical world which Germany either stole or pressured out of the hands of Asian-minor at the turn of the last century.

Breakfast was suprisingly good for such a budget hotel, though not as good as what I enjoyed in France. I swear there is nothing better than a warm Croissant with Nuttella, or a Pain du Chocolate(which is more or less something similar to a Croissant with the Nuttella baked into the center.

Checkpoint Charley was really disappointing, there was a lot of construction in the area, and so things were a bit unattractive. The notorious sign “You are leaving the America Sector” is still there, along with a mock military post. There was a museum on Checkpoint Charley which I was planning to visit, but it was 5.50 euros to enter with a student discount… I wasn’t that interested. I moved onto the Pergamonmuseum which held all sorts of interesting artifacts from Babylon, ancient Greece, as well as an interesting exhibit on Islamic art.

The Pergamonmuseum, though small, was worth the visit to see the old pieces of architecture, art, and sculpture from classical periods. I walked around for about an hour and a half with my audioguide. Its a strange place, they have part of a Hellenistic temple, a Babylonian gate, pillars from Egyptian temples, sculptures, pieces of jewelry, tablets, pots, all sorts of strange things that set it apart as different from other museums. I finished my tour around noon. I remembered that the trains to Prague(Praha) left 45 minutes after every even hour, so there was one I could make leaving at 12:45 that would arrive at 5:00. I decided to try to make it, but first I passed a little street side vendor selling Bratwurst, and I just had to have it, and with it being lunch time it seemed perfect. The sausage wasn’t served in a hot dog bun like it would be over here, but a small round bun with a slit cut in it, with the wurst sticking out on either side. I topped it with mustard and a spicy tomato ketchup, and kept walking. I made it to the station with 15 minutes to spare and found the line it was going to be at. Off to Prague. I plan to be there for a couple of nights, with maybe one night between Prague and Vienna(Wein).

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