Berlin, Germany Day 117

Oh the rain! The rain is putting just a *bit* of a damper on my enjoyment. It’s just relentless! And it seems to be following me! I checked the forecast, and it looks like rain in Prague for my first 2 days there, then sun. Please, let there be some sun! I know in 2 weeks I’ll probably be complaining about the heat in Turkey, but what can you do? To be me is to complain!
I decided to take it easy today. I did a lot in the last couple of days and just wanted to do a little shopping, sit in some café’s and just people watch and relax a bit. I started off at a place called Hackeschen Hofe which is a series of 8 courtyards designed and built in the early 20th century. It is considered one of the best examples of German Art Nouveau architecture in the country. There are shops and cafes in each of the courtyards, but no chain stores (well, except for Starbucks.) The shops here are mostly independent boutiques and local designers rather than The Gap or Zara, which is a really nice change from the usual malls and shopping streets. Seeing the same shops in every town and city gets boring. I always prefer to buy something handmade or local rather than some nameless store brand. Don’t get me wrong, obviously I do shop at those stores as well, but when traveling why would I want to buy the same stuff I can buy at home?

I thought I better buy a Starbucks coffee at least once to make up for all of my “borrowing” of their free wifi.Thanks Starbucks!
This is the most beautiful and ornate of the Hackeschen Hofe courtyards.
My friend Judi made me laugh really hard when she told me about this store. Before I left for my trip she and I went to Gravity Pope in Vancouver. I was looking for a good comfy pair of shoes for my trip and I was trying on a pair by this brand Trippen. Judi said to wait until I came to Berlin because they’re a German company and have their own shop here. She said she was so overwhelmed by the selection of shoes that what did she buy? A purse. The only one they had in the store, I think. I didn’t buy anything. I really like the shoes, but I just don’t have an extra 250-300 euros to spend on shoes at this time…. I always have Gravity Pope!
This is a cool little store called Ampelmann. Absolutely all of their merchandise features the Ampelmännchen symbol (traffic light man,) Before unification West Germany had a more generic walk symbol, and East Germany had this more stylized one of the man with the hat. After the fall of the Berlin wall the symbol is  probably one of the most popular ( and not tacky!) souvenirs to go home with people visiting Berlin.
Museum Insel is in the same area as Hackeschen Hofe, so I walked over to see the museums on offer. I had planned on going to the German History Museum today, but I just couldn’t summon up the energy to walk through another museum. I’ve been traveling for 4 months now, and been in a lot of museums… I have to REALLY want it to go to the effort at this point. Does that sound bad? The Berlin Jewish Museum was still fresh in my mind, so I wanted to let that digest. I can guarantee that I’ll be coming back to Berlin. There’s still a lot to see.
It started pouring again so I spontaneously decided that it would be a good idea to spend an hour under the dry cover of a canal boat. The tour wasn’t great, but it was cheap and enjoyable to just sit and look out the window for a while. 
Look! Someone made a heart in the grass!
This was some sort of monument/memorial across the river from Museum Insel. I could not find a thing out about it…. there was no plaque or information board at all. I still found it interesting though. Just WHO are these guys?
These were photos that were etched into these steel pillars. (see photo right below)
 
This was definitely some sort of war memorial because all of the photos were war themed. Many looked like there were maybe Vietnam War era as well. So confusing. Information please!
I was going to go home after the canal ride, but then I remembered that I wanted to see the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church. I got on the U-Bahn and headed over, only to be disappointed that it was all covered up with plastic to be restored! What a bummer, I totally went out of my way to come and see it. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be! So, I headed back to my hotel and had a nice 2 hour nap before bed. That’s ALWAYS a great recipe for not being able to sleep later! I can’t deny it… this girl is tired. As much as I like to pretend I’m 20, sadly I’m just not. Well, I actually prefer being 40, to be honest. But can’t I just have the body and energy of a 20 year old, and the confidence and brains of a 40 year old? Pretty please?
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A lovely series of 4 statues called “Three girls and a boy.” Of course as I was walking up to take a photo there was a young guy doing rude and lewd things to the poor gal second from the end (the one facing the river.) Just use your imagination there… he was really embarrassed when he saw me though and said in English, “I know, I’m so immature!” Um, yes, but I did have a laugh.

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One Response to Berlin, Germany Day 117

  1. Anonymous August 6, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    There is a quote that reminds me of what you are doing Andrea, I think it is by a British man (a Prime Minister?). He said ” Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen”. He also said something about travel teaching tolerance. In so many ways right?
    You’re doing an amazing job! Keep up the great posts!
    Beth

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