End of London and beginning of Germany

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A lot has happened in the past few days, and I finally found a computer to update this blog so hopefully I can go into a little more detail.

Since the last update, we finished our shenanigans in London.  The city was spectacular and full of diversity.  It was a great transition city between Scotland and the continent, because everywhere around us there were different languages. Some things that we did on during the second half of London were a tour of the Globe Theatre, a Film Museum that displays vehicles from James Bond movies, a Boat Trip on the Thames River that took us to a little suburb Greenwich (pronounced Grenich), and the one thing I have been looking forward to months… Les Miserables!! Les Miserables was an incredible experience that will play over and over in my mind for a long time. It was incredible.  The stage the performed on was quite small and was meant for just plays. But using a revolving stage created smooth transitions. Each character was incredible, and the actor playing Javert completely redeemed the character. Epinone has always been one of my favorite characters in musicals and the actress killed it. I was also fortunate to see the musical, Once, due to class being canceled. It put a whole new perspective on musicals, because it is very different than, say, Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, or Wicked.  It’s a more genuine story about musicians who fall in love and encourage each other in their careers. Unfortunately I ran out of time/money to experience Lion King which is fine because it gives me a completely legitiment reason to go back to New York and experience it there. 🙂

One last thing we did in London was go to the Imperial War museum, which had lots of information regarding wars that the UK had been involved in. These include WWI, WWII, the cold war, and even the War on Terrorism.  It also had an exhibit on the Holocaust. Each floor of the museum was powerful and informative, and left room for thought, especially the Holocaust area.

The last day of London was a learning day.  We had booked our flight to Cologne/Bonn a few days ahead, but did not realize how far the airport was from our hostel, leaving us in a financial dilemma. Lessons were learned this night, and not much sleep was gained. The next day, February 28th, we headed off to Bonn, Germany to visit a friend of mine!

My friend Roman, who I had worked with for two summers at Sugar Creek was gracious enough to let a friend and I visit and stay with him for three days.  It was a relaxing weekend, which has been needed this entire trip.  Pretty much every day we have been doing city tours, exploring, seeing shows, class, museums, etc. without the chance to just rest. So we drank coffee and watched 2 seasons of Sherlock, a show on the BBC, and now I am obsessed. Roman gave us some advice about Germany, including German police officers are the nicest and trustworthiest people he has met. The other one is if you don’t want to be talked to by sketchy Germans, just walk down the street and look like you’re angry. I can finally put my resting b*tch face to work!

Not gonna lie, it is a little challenging being a country now where people around you are speaking an unfamiliar language. But my great-great grandparents had to do that when they moved to Wisconsin and learn English. Usually I am asking people if they speak english before I interact with them. Most people reply with a little, but it is usually enough to get the job done. I feel a little bad because I have not been able to memorize manner words yet such as please, excuse me, sorry, etc. But I know thank you, and do you speak english. lol

I arrived in Berlin two days ago.  Yesterday we had a walking tour of Berlin, and our tour guide was from America. I liked him. Berlin is so full of history.  Between being bombed in WWII, being split between right wing and left wing politics post WWII, this city has come a long ways. There are memorials for the victims who died in the Holocaust, and each group of people (Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, etc.) has their own memorial.  We walked through the memorial of murdered Jews. The memorial is quite abstract and was designed by a Jewish American.  It consists of blocks of concrete spaced out on an entire street block. The number of blocks are insignificant, and the blocks are different heights.  The meaning behind the design is controversial, and the architect has not given an explanation.  The only thing he mentions is how one can come up with one interpretation for a memorial, when one cannot come up with an interpretation of a genocide so large. I think that is kind of interesting because it leaves room for personal interpretation. Some of the blocks are starting to crack because they are just concrete. My personal view on it is this: like each victim, each block represents different sizes therefore different stories. Germany has had to deal with this burden for over half a century and probably will for the next century to come.  A nationalistic or patriotic is really only seen during the World Cup for Germany, and even after that it quickly diminishes.  The blocks are starting to crack.  Perhaps this symbolizes a point in time when every block has cracked, it could be a closure time for the Germans and the burden their generations have had to deal with. (Because I feel that an architect would have had to known that cement cracks over time…)

Anyway, we saw one part of the Berlin wall that still exists, and noticed how architecture of buildings differentiate on the West and East sides of Berlin. The West side is more contemporary than the East. The west side belonged to the Democratic United States, and the East side belonged to the Communistic Soviet Union.  We saw Check Point Charlie, and a panoramic picture of the day were the Cold War almost physically started at CPC.

I also saw the Koncerthaus that the Berlin Philharmonic plays in and I just about suffocated. I hope to see a performance there. In addition there was a memorial for the book burning done by the Nazi’s. Underneath Bebelplatz, (a town square) there is a locked book room that has a window ceiling for people to look down into. The twist is that it is a white, empty room with book shelves.

We have lots to do still in Berlin, including more museums and another city tour. My next destination is a small town in which I’m not exactly sure where, but it will be OUT of the city and in the mountains with less people. I am very much looking forward to this. I miss nature, and getting slightly sick of concrete and sky scrapers.

until my next access to a computer

Guten Tag.

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