I really love Berlin! (except for the weird layout of the keyboard again! Aaaargh!!!!).
I didn´t get a chance to go to an internet cafe yesterday so I would need to remember what I did yesterday! (Why do the Germans swap the location of ´z´ and ´y´ in their keyboard?) Argh!
My last night in Vilnius was uneventful – I went to a local cafe and had dessert and tried their local “Kvass”, apparently it´s a non-alcoholic drink made of barley before it turns into beer? Whatever it was, it tastes great! In the morning, I had to get up early again and go to the Vilnius Airport. The airport isn´t as upgraded as Tallinn´s, the passengers only boarded the plane 15 minutes before we were due to fly! There were 3 flights sharing the same gate, with departure time differing only in 15 minutes. The attendant only ripped the boarding-pass and didn´t even bother to check the name … so I guess Vilnius still has some catching up to do! However, all in all, I still love the city, however, when I chatted to one of the locals, he mentioned that the temperature could get to -32C in Winter!!! Yikes!!!! In Summer the city looks very habitable, but I don´t know if I can live in -32C temperature!
Anyway, I´m in Berlin now … I stayed in a hotel in Kreuzberg district – it was originally part of West Berlin and now known as where the large portion of the Turkish live. The hotel is excellent, the room is minimalist but very tastefully furnished. I feel like staying in an Ikea hotel! Wood-panelled floor and bathroom; old-fashioned fan, etc. It seems that the hotel is owned by three partners, and it is a very nice hotel if you´re thinking of visiting Berlin. The hotel is called Hotel Johann – the neighbourhood, again, could be better, but the hotel is centrally located near a U-Bahn Station and near some of Berlin´s attractions.
Yesterday was almost like a day of remembrance – I went to see Checkpoint Charlie (got my passport stamped with East German stamp for 1€) and the Museum at Checkpoint Charlie (which is very poignant but very packed with tourists!). I also saw a section of the Berlin Wall that is left standing at Niederkirchner Straße. There´s an ongoing exhibition near Niederkirchner Str. called the “Topographie des Terrors” – which is also a must-visit when zou are in Berlin. I was left quite emotional and fuming listening and reading to the excuse that the Nazi officials gave upon the Nürnberg trial. The walk there is worth every step just to hear Robert H. Jackson´s summary of the trial. There are some loudspeakers installed on top of the plaques, so you can read the text in its original tone.
After walking past Martin-Gropius-Bau and Anhalter Bahnhof, I then continued to the Jüdisches Museum because it was still open (open until 8pm, except for Monday, until 10pm). Daniel Liebeskind´s design is genius – if you go there, you will easily get disorientated because of its design and its sloping floor. The Garden of Exile and Emigration as well as the Holocaust Tower would really make you stop and wonder, how cruel man can be towards the others and how afraid and disorientated you will feel if you are put in that situation.
For dinner, I had some kebab and some bread from the local bakery before retreating for the night. I was TIRED!!!!!
Today, is dedicated for shopping – I went to Kurfurstendamm to look around and see perhaps if there are some cheap good things to buy. I had a look at KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) as well as Peek & Cloppenburg in Tauentzienstraße. I even had Curry-Wurst for lunch in Tauentzienstraße because there seems to be a street fair going on there. The atmosphere and the cheesy music got me smiling – imagine walking around on the street with shops around you, and “Love is in the Air” playing through the loudspeaker. 🙂 Because I felt so good, I even indulged in a two-scooped cup of Häagen-Dasz ice-cream! Yummmm. (I did do some shopping too: ties that are on sale and extra undies at Peek & Cloppenburg – since the launderer in the neighbourhood wouldn´t accept my undies for dry-cleaning … hehehehe). I also had a look at the fantastic Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche (the old ruin and the new church with the great stained-glass wall).
Now, I´m just going to walk around some more and enjoz Ku´Damm (as the locals call Kurfurstendamm) before it rains. Tomorrow I´m planning to explore the Museum-Inseln and Unter den Linden. Tschüß!!!!!