Leaving Berlin

Okay so first of all I just re-read my earlier post about east and west and realized that it makes no sense at all. What I was trying to say was that in the former east there are a lot of new buildings, most of them are post-wall, post 1990. They are fancy and architecturally fascinating, like the main station, daimler city, and basically the whole of Potsdam platz. The former West, has buildings that are mainly post-war and post 1950-60. They are still new-ish in construction but lack the futuristic architectural showcase aspects. Um, not sure if that's any more clear...

Berlin has been wonderful. I feel like I could live here. There is so much history, so much culture and so many people. Yesterday I went to check point Charlie and the Topography of Terror Outdoor Exhibit. There are pieces of the wall all over the area. There is also a double brick line in the ground where the wall used to be. It is only in part of the city now, but they are expanding it. Its eerie to look at it and walk all around it and over it. At one point, where the Topography of Terror exhibit, this double brick line runs into the actual wall. It is the longest, still standing portion of the wall in the city. It sends chills throughout your body. The street that it is on, looks very much like it did when the whole wall was up, and people just walk down it on both sides, knowing that the wall is there, but many not even looking at it. The wall as it turns out, was actually a set of two walls with a dead zone in the middle, filled with mines, sharp shooters and military. I'll never forget when I was little, I saw a pbs special with my parents about the wall and people trying to escape. I have the most vivid picture of this woman soaking wet, in a canal sticking to the wall of it with her back, and a boat, with a gun pointing at her, while the soldiers yelled commands at her. I couldn't help but read the stories and look at the wall and think of that special and the thousands of people just like that woman.

Topography of Terror Outdoor Exhibit

Topography of Terror Outdoor Exhibit

Tomorrow I am leaving Berlin for Warsaw. I believe the train ride is something like 6 hours, so I stopped for provisions on the way back to the woods tonight. It is going to be so hard to leave. I have started to feel like I live here, travelling in on the public transport each day, getting groceries, and the like. I dont even have to look at the map for the S-Bahn, Underground or Bus anymore. It feels like I have moved to a new place and am just waiting to start work. I am a freak of nature. I am sure it has to do with how awesome this hostel is :)
Oh yah and if you were wondering what happended to the trophy stand from the world cup...its here, in the hostel lounge! Along with various other world cup banners and signs.

Today I tried to visit the Reichstag and its glass dome, but the wait was an hour and a half so I had to pass. Good thing I did because the Jewish Museum is a lot larger than I thought it was. I didnt even get through the whole thing before I had to leave. I swear the museum had more security than most airports ive been in lately. They also watch you like a hawk the whole time you are there, and the people who work there are like militant. It was bizarre, but the museum was good. It has a dizzying construction, filled with "memory voids," which were basically empty spaces throughout the building. The architect said the building does not have an explanation or a specific message, it is suppose to make you feel what it makes you feel.
One exhibit in the museum moved me like no other exhibit anywhere ever has. It was called "fallen leaves." Originally it was a holocaust memorial, but then it was changed to reflect all of the innocents who have died during war. It was housed in one of these voids, so it was a tall open space, part of it dark, almost like the end of a dark hall. On the floor there were thick iron/metal disks, except they werent just circles, they had eyes, nose and a mouth cut out from them. The mouths were open. They were all faces of fear. You were encouraged to walk down the whole hall, to the end and into the darnkens. As I stood there deciding whether or not I could actually walk it, other people were coming out of the darkness and as they did you could hear the metal clanking together as they walked over the faces. It made me want to throw up, but I did in fact walk it. I was careful not to make as much noise as the other people had when they walked. The noise just made every face of every picture of war I have ever seen more vivid.
Silly me I had checked my camera, so now I only have a postcard of this exhibit, i'll have to scan it when I get home. It wont do it justice, but at least it will be a small view of it for everyone else. The noise will always be associated to those pictures for me. You could hear it all the way into the other halls of the museum. The admission price was worth it for just that exhibit alone.


Jewish Museum 

I got out of the Jewish museum and was so emotionally exhausted that all I could do was go to the grocery store and return to the hostel. It makes me wonder what Auswitz is going to be like next week. I can't even picture it, think about it, I hope I still have the nerve to be able to go where so much death occurred.