Friday, 5 June 2009

Berlin Part 3.

Day 10.

Today we had to change hostels because this one was supposedly full so we packed up and set off on our ways. The most amazing thing about today was the weather! It was so HOT. We were both in short pants and sleeveless shirts it was really refreshing not having to wear more clothes! We both felt like we were home.

Just before I write about what we did next... on the way to the train there is a little line of bricks that run across roads and everything and this is marking where the wall actually ran so I'll add that too because Miranda took such a lovely photo. Plus it's cool jumping from East Berlin and then to West Berlin. Maybe 'cool' is the wrong word...

On the way we stopped by the Kaiser Wilhelm Church. It’s a pretty standard church with a big dome and what not. The interesting thing is that half of the dome is missing. In case you hadn’t guessed this was a lovely memento of WWII. They were going to rebuild the dome but decided that it would act as a reminder of the destruction caused. It was pretty cool. The lame part was some fool in the 60s built this tall glass building right next to it so it’s hard to get a good photo of! The extra building is supposed to compliment the church when all it does is bombard it – which is lame.

We got to the second hostel and it was really lovely. The area was a bit livelier than the last and by livelier I mean there wasn’t person within five metres of me as opposed to 25 metres. The hostel was a little quiet place that contained the most comfortable beds, best showers and an entire decor as dictated by IKEA. Pretty swish. We got into our room (we hadn’t paid... the lady didn’t deem in a necessity...Though she did ask for a password. We were like... “Err... what?” “Passport?” “Oh right”) and we just flopped onto our beds loving the warmth when it started raining! There’s nothing more reminiscent of home than heat and rain at the same time. The smell of hot ground getting wet... it was so nice listening to the rain – not the hopeless drizzle we get in England but actual rain drops. Miranda and I just wanted to have a long nap but realised we should get out and do things – I mean we didn’t come on this trip to sleep we can sleep when we’re dead! We did feel obligated to more than things than motivated to – we felt that Europe was forcing itself on us.

After we each had a delicious chocolate spread packet (remember I swiped them? They kept me going for a couple of days) we set out in the rain to go to Charlottenburg Palace. On the way we had a traditional German bratwurst. I liked it except for the mustard which was excessive and strange. It’s nice in Berlin because everything is much cheaper than in Paris – though that’s no surprise.

Anyway, Charlottenburg Palace is the Home of Sophie Charlotte – who I mentioned yesterday. Sophie Charlotte was the first Queen of Prussia which is why she has this sweet crib. The only problem was she died at thirty-seven so never got to see most of the palace finished. It was a lovely palace – not as lavish as Versailles but still really amazing. There was this room that had Sophie’s collection of Chinese porcelain in it (it was her favourite thing). Wow. The guide said there are over 2700 items of porcelain in there. Then there was the Queen’s antechamber that had mirrors and green walls running all around the room with big windows on the opposite side and the idea was that the garden outside would be reflected into the room thus keeping nature present in their palace which I thought was cool. They also did this in the Oval Ballroom with jutted out from the rest of the palace and had big bay windows that would open directly onto the garden. It was a really great palace. Had to be my favourite after Versailles. No pictures are allowed inside though - bummer.
All throughout the palace (and all the other palaces we have seen) are paintings of the nobles and elites of the time. They are all so unattractive... I mean the audio guide was saying that Sophie was renowned for her beauty and she wasn’t bad looking but the rest of them – bleh. Miranda said it was because they were all so inbred – no wonder they would skive off with the hired help... There was also a painting of none other than one of the Brothers Grimm! How spacey is that? You never think of the Brothers Grimm as real people who wrote these stories... It was pretty cool.
The most amazing thing was seeing the pictures of this palace – that we were in – after World War II. Wow. Most of the top floor was destroyed and they decided to build it fairly neutrally afterwards. It was crazy. War just wrecks everything! This trip really made it touch home for me... what with Anne Frank’s house and everything it just – I still boggle and what went down...
The palace was really awesome and the history was incredible. I love going to places and getting a real understanding of their culture and history because my schooling was focused on the history of England and so on.

We went outside and found these little cell type deals next to the gates of the palace which must have been for the guards to be stationed in. We laughed and decided this is where would live – in a beautiful palace but the room was rubbish – much like our room at Founders! A real dump in a lovely building.
We had a walk about the gardens which were nice and designed by the same gardener as Versailles but it started raining some more so we went across the road to the Berggruen Museum which housed works by Picasso, Matisse, Kilm and Van Gogh. It was cool but they were lesser known works which usually means less interesting. Also the gallery itself was pretty weird... I mean when you think of an art gallery you think of high ceilings, large space and no windows. This had the opposite of everything I just said.

We then decided to get dinner and had a cheap feed of lasagne with tiramisu for dessert – wrong country but oh well.
Then this massive storm rolled in and it begun absolutely pouring down with rain – heavy, heavy rain. We had to wait out the storm for a bit at the train station because we only had one umbrella between us.
We got back – partially dry – and used the free internet only to have this group of Americans come up to us and ask us in a really commanding and superior tone “um... how long are you going to be? Because we need to check flight times” Whoa. Just because I’m on facebook doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong. This was about the time on the trip when Miranda and I started to despise our own nations’ people. Pushy Americans...
Then we watched half of the “Sound of Music” as I’d never seen it and when we get to Salzburg we are going on a tour because that is where it was filmed and set. Off to Prague tomorrow!

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