Monday, February 14, 2011

Conquering Berlin and Tasting Prague

Conquering Berlin
So! We left Amsterdam for Berlin at 8:26 am and after a long train  
ride, arrived at 3:20 in the afternoon in Berlin. I get so excited  
when we land in a new city. It was a beautiful sunny, but cold day in  
Berlin as we left the train station and headed to former East Berlin,  
where we were staying. It's not the best part of town, graffiti (or as  
some call it art) is everywhere, but it's fairly safe.
We dropped by a Youth With A Mission base that Casey kept in contact  
with and saw the place. Then just down the road we tried to find a  
hostel, most were booked up for it was a Friday night, hut we finally  
found a cute little hostel just in time for a free 'learn how to cook  
authentic German food' lesson! Perfect timing. So off we go to the  
kitchen and learn how to make stuffed peppers. So this dish has  
Eastern European roots, so it's not 100% German, but close enough.
The next day consisted of a walking tour of Berlin and I was blown  
away by how much history there is in this city. Our tour guide was  
absolutely awesome- he gave us a greatly detailed tour and he was so  
passionate about it- it was great.
I love seeing people get passionate about what they love or who they  
love, it's really refreshing. I refuse to not be an unpassionate  
person- especially in relationships to people. They are most important.
Anyways!  We got to see things like the Berlin cathedral, that was  
accidentally bombed by the Americans/British during the war,the Berlin  
wall- yes I got to see it! The only part that was standing; also where  
it used to stand they now just have bricks lining the roads,  
sidewalks, etc (see pictures below).
Other things we saw: the "deathstrip"-basically an area between the  
Berlin wall where a lot of people who tried to come over from the east  
to west were shot down and killed- hence the name, checkpoint Charlie,  
"ghost station"- basically the underground train goes through east and  
west, but because of the division, these stations were highly  
patrolled and closed down from the outside, so that when you were  
above ground on either side you wouldn't even know there was an  
underground station there. We also saw the state opera, Bebelplatz-  
scene of the Nazi bookburning, Memorial of the Murdered Jews of  
Europe, and we stood above Hitlers bunker and where he committed  
suicide!! Basically it's down the road from the murdered Jews Memorial  
(where during the Nazi occupation it was a garden just for Nazis).  
Hitler had some bunkers in that area that were 10 km deep, made from  
concrete, and were like 3 meters thick. He committed suicide by taking  
a cianide pill and shooting himself in the head, the last thing he saw  
before he died was his wife, wearing his favorite dress. When they  
were rebuilding the city in the 90s, they Put bombs on those bunkers,  
and Now there is a parking lot on that area. So basically, the bunkers  
are still down there along with mud and rocks- everything being  
destroyed though.
The second half of our day consisted of eating an organic hamburger  
and strayberry crepes made by a sweet Asian lady, and shopping in the  
'alternative' or second hand store area of Berlin- I found myself some  
jeans from a store called 'God Bless You' haha. Love it.
Now, we are on our way to Prague, it's about 4 in the afternoon. Oh  
and this morning we went to English speaking church in Berlin!
We arrived at about 6 pm, and left at 10 am the next morning...Definitely not enough time to visit the city fully, 
But, we did a good feel of it from Casey's friend who met up with us and showed us around. 
It seems like a pretty cool city, a lot of Americans and people from other countries around, which was pretty cool. 
The city has an awesome Castle, that reminds me of Disneyland or some princess movie--maybe 
Cinderella? That night we basically walked around the whole city, had some coffee and I had a glass of hot wine-
a local delicacy! It was quite tasty- a little "different" but something worth trying. We've heard about it in other countries 
and never really got a chance to try it because we heard that it was more of a holiday thing....
Oh, and our hostel in Prague was absolutely amazing! Thanks to Casey's great hostel-finding-skills
it was super nice- the showers were trendy- like something you would find in the Pearl District, 
each room had their own bathroom and modern concrete seemed to be the theme in the place. 
For anyone wanting to go to Prague, check out Miss Sophie's. And the price is quiet resonable!
Anyways, this blog ends here. And again picture-less. SORRY! But its been hard uploading anything lately 
I promise in the end I will give you so many pictures you'll get sick of them...but until then...
Stay tuned for next explains how our eventful Valentine's Day went on our way to 
Krakow, Poland....! You don't want to miss this. 
Oh- and to all you lovers out there- HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! 
Love and miss you all, 

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