Published: August 21st 2006August 21st 2006
Okay, sorry about the delay. First, replies to comments. Nzie-- you're so cute! I will give you the cookie, as you remembered my birthdate with no reminder from facebook to help you out! We actually are going to have a party here because Micha's bday is Sept 1. So as soon as midnight hits, we're celebrating his bday. I make jokes about going to bed early then ;)
Steak-- I knew you would be. So proud of your name, which makes me happy. Germans still don't eat a lot of steak because of the whole mad cow thing. Everyone else it seems has forgot about it.
Corn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My sweet adorable little sister!!! I guess mom musta forwarded my email-- can always trust her to do that ;) I miss you so much!!
Alright so back to germany. So 3 weekends ago, I was in Berlin. Woot! It was awesome. Many of you probably got Berlin postcards. Berlin is definitely my favorite city yet. I saw all the typical tourist places and quite a few atypical ones. I stayed with another German family I know there-- Anke, another Micha, and Charlotte (their I-think-4 yr old daughter, who is so cute). So on Friday, as soon as I got there (which was about 5 PM) we ate in a restaurant in the Potsdamen Platz, then drove around and saw some things, such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Berline Mauer. It is so funny how they say Charlie. Checkpoint Chahlie. I really liked it. Micha knows a TON of Berlin history. So it was pretty cool, although I confess, I didn't always understand because it was always in German and some words I didn't know. But most of it I got. Plus I know a bit of German history. But they were both so great with explaining stuff, including unknown words. I learned "Pappalapap" (or I think that's how it is spelled) which is basically like "Quatsch!" (Nonsense!). They did have some dialect, but not overbearing or anything. Not like the Kölners who ignore the difference between "-ch" and "-sch." My teacher for the first couple of weeks was from Köln. I guess it's evil of me that it was practically like being made to listen to nails on a chalkboard for 3 hours. But yea, so the Berlin dialect isn't so bad. They called me "Connie" a few times too ;) That comment is obviously for Corn. They were excited to see your wedding pictures too
So then after that we went home. They'd bought an old early 1900s schoolhouse and renovated it to be their house. It is gorgeous. They also had a huge amount of land to go along with it, including another plot with a run down house on it. It was amazing how much land they have, especially in Germany. Apparently it was cheap because it's covered in wheat or something. I guess farmland is cheaper than just typical countryside land. They'd finished only the main level of the house, but even that was big. It took a ton of work though-- I saw all the pictures and everything. The school was really rundown. Apparently it was the first building built by some famous architect in Berlin, who also built one of the museums in the Altstadt and some other stuff I can't remember anymore.
The next day Micha took Charlotte shopping and then to Anke's parents. Anke and I went to downtown Berlin with the Sbahn. We did a Bike-taxi tour of all the must-see sites in Berlin, like Checkpoint Charlie, Humboldt University (which is gorgeous) (which is renamed from Kaiser Wilhelm Univ), French Platz, the Reichstag, all the Museums, TV Turm, the Wall, the building that serves for (i think) the ministry of finance or whatever that is the last nazi building or something, and then the longest building in Germany, and the first street light in Germany, and of course the Brandenburgen Tor. And before the Tor was a gathering of some sorts. There was some music playing and junk; not a lot of people, but in front of the Tor was a huge spread of what I think was marijuana plants. At least, that's what I guessed, considering people were also selling marijuana jewelry and that kind of typical stuff. Is pot legal in Germany? I do not remember ever having heard so. Then we also saw the hotel where all the famous politicians have stayed. We were dropped off at the Museum of German History, where we went through the first part, that ran up until 1870s. I saw several busts and stuff of Otto von Bismarck. So beautiful. Also, to my endless joy (that sounds sarcastic, but it isn't) the famous painting of Louis XIV where he's not wearing the crown and stuff was there. So awesome. I almost squeaked with glee.
We'd already been in the museum for several hours (2 or 3, I can't remember) so we skipped the second half, and went to the Berlinen Dom. Which happens to be the most amazing cathedral in the world. St Peters Basilica WOULD win out, except the Dom also has Bismarck's grave, which the Basilica cannot boast. It also has the Hohenzollern crypt, including Frederick the Great, which typically might interest people more. Actually, Bismarck's coffin is in that crypt as well, right as one walks in. His coffin used to have an elaborate decoration that was just huge, but it was destroyed somehow. There are before and after pictures. We then climbed ALL the stairs to get to the top of the Berlinen Dom (a LOT of stairs) and could see practically all of Berlin. Who needs the TV tower? ;) (We didn't go to the TV tower actually). Michael met us after, in the Dom giftshop, where he bought me a book of pictures of the history of the Berlin Wall. It was lovely. He also payed for the postcards. In fact, he paid for everything while I was there. So nice :)
After that, we ate at an AWESOME thai restaurant called Goodtimes, and then went to see the Kaiser Wilhelm Kirche ruins, which was really pretty cool. The modern monstrosity that is supposed to be the new Kaiser Wilhelm church wasn't as nice, in my opinion. As one might tell by my wordchoice to describe it. We then basically wandered about Berlin. First, Micha and Anke showed me this building that basically had half of it blown off by a bomb in WW2. The coolest thing was that they resealed it, and on the side listed the names of the people who'd been killed by the bomb. A little further ways was a Holocaust memorial; if one is Jewish they put a stone around this monument. Really quite moving. There's also a small statue that serves as a memorial as well.
After that, we kept wandering about and Anke and Micha showed me the little numbered alleyways that sort of bloom into little plazas and such. You see such things in movies and such, when people are fleeing the police or whatever. In one of them, we encountered a small museum of "magic" that we decided to go into. It had info about alchemy, mother nature, witchcraft stuff, etc. My lifeline on my hand says I'm gonna die at 65 :( Anke's gonna live to be like 100 or something. The last room had torture devices and recounted the witch trials. I hate torture so I was a bit freaked and basically buried my eyes in Ankes shoulder. She didn't mind; I think she and Micha already had drawn the conclusion that I was insane since I was oozing with excitement to see anything of Bismarck, including driving on Bismarckstraße. After the museum, which wasn't all that special, the guy who sort of ran the place I guess gave us a bunch of mind-trick puzzles to do that were actually really tough. We must have spent more than an hour doing these things. It was so much fun. An awesome place really, and the guy was really nice and cool.
We then went to a disco thing for beverages or whatever, called Dante, a reference to Dantes Inferno. I couldn't help but think of my english class, and of course, my beloved Victoria. On the way there, Micha and Anke told me about the walk-light guys in East Berlin, and how the east Berliners basically had to fight to keep him and to keep their Sandman and won both of those. They also both knew some Russian, since they had to learn it in school. It's pretty cool to get the East Berliners' perspective. Everyone always just thinks it was basically liberated and everyone was happy, which is true to an extent, but they also still wanted to keep some of their own culture that had formed since the wall went up. Pretty fascinating, I think. I ended up buying a tshirt with the little walk-light guys in the Bahnhof, so when you see me wear it, youll know what it is!
The next day, we went to Potsdam, where we toured the castle where the Potsdam conference was (can't remember the name), and visited Sans Souci and Neue Palais (part of which is Potsdam University now). We didn't go inside either, because we just didn't have time. But from the outside of Neue Palais, which is absolutely gorgeous, I decided I could probably force myself to live there. I mean, if I just absolutely had to. It's a redbrick palace that looks basically pink/melon from a distance. So gorgeous. Sans Souci is also very pretty. Connie should be able to tell that the names are French, and therefore all of you should be able to tell that they're very old.
And then I had to leave. Sadness :( And during that weekend where I had so much fun and was at all times happy and overflowing with joy and glee and everything good in life, poor Micha broke his collar bone. So I'm living in his apartment that is about 5 minutes away while he lives here with his parents.
I do have other stuff to recount, but this entry is already almost infinitely long and probably boring, so..... all that stuff will wait. I'm sick of writing :P.
FOR NZIE (and others who want to be awed)
And that doesn't even cover all of it! Especially considering the awesome crypt ;)