Not sure what the hell this is but it sure looked cool :)
We left Frankfurt this morning to head off for Berlin. I was really excited about this just based on the fact that there is so much history in the city.... that and The 69 Eyes have a really cool song "Feel Berlin" . Anyway, we headed out early and soon were in the German countryside. I'm still amazed that there was a west and east Germany until not so long ago. We passed so many quaint German towns nestled into the trees on the side of the road, along with tons and tons and tons and tons of big huge windmills. Evidently, Germany is worlds ahead of the US when it comes to green power. I have to say the windmills were really pretty, they were painted in different colors and there would be fields and fields of them.
A beautiful German town.
Another thing I noticed on our travels was there was a whole lot of graffiti around. I mean every bridge, overpass, even the screens on the side of the road were covered with graffiti. Very odd. We made a stop in the old border of east and west Germany and got to see the old checkpoints. It was also at this place that we discovered the days of peeing freely would have to end because you have to pay for the priviledge. Yep .50 Euro to pee. Now granted, the restrooms were very, very clean but as Kerry put it I didn't budget for bathrooms, lol. It was at this point that we decided that we were going to hold it at all costs rather than wasting money on the bathroom. I did not do so well on this decision and can't even begin to tell you how much money I spent on peeing.
The old West/East German border and the site of the first pay for peeing station.
That and my endless quest for "non-gas" water, but that's a story for another day.
We stopped in Weimer for the afternoon and had a look around. In the town center there was a statue of Goethe and Schiller, both great German poets and dramatists, I decided after a bit of study that Schiller was pretty damn hot for a statue. We walked around a bit and I found some cool postcards. I buy postcards like they are going out of style and only send 5 or so when I'm away. When I go for a month or so it's not bad but when you're only gone for 2 weeks really whats the sense. They don't get them back home until right when your ready to come home anyway. Even worse is when you're already home and the postcard comes and you're like, damn that was a great day.
Another beautiful town.
Anyway, I buy postcards all the time because sometimes my pictures don't always come out the way I want them to. Well, I found this great close up shot of the hot statue and was super excited. Before we left I figured I had better dig out the .50 Euro and use the bathroom and wouldn't you know I left the postcards including the hot Shiller pic in the damn toilet. I was very disappointed but thank God the pics came out, lol.
We continued on towards Berlin and on the way spotted a Traband car on the highway. I had learned (not sure how true or not) that the Traband was called the cardboard car by the Germans, evidently it is made of paper and plastic????? I must have a tiny little engine cause it was just putting along but I thought it was kinda cute.
Because we like to do this.
I also learned that during Communism, if you wanted to buy a car you got your name put on a list and you'd get your car in about, oh, 10 years or so, and more often than not it was a Traband. Amazing stuff. I also heard that there are no toll roads in Germany as that was one of the consessions after WW II, again not 100% sure about that but we didn't encounter any toll roads while in Germany. We passed a town called Jena and you could see rows and rows of the plain concrete buidings built during the Communist regime and I thought to myself my got everything looks the same, all gray and drab. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be living or growing up here during that time period.
We finally got to Berlin, and I was all excited; it was one of those moments when you're like my God I've heard so much about this place and I'm finally here.
It was just as beautiful as I imagined it to be! We checked into the hotel and then got ready for dinner. We went to eat at a wonderful Berlin restaurant and I had a Berliner, which was a pork wurst, some potatoes and sauerkraut. At the time of eating it was amazing, so good. Not so good about 3 hours later when my stomach was in turmoil for the remainder of the night, lol. That's what happens when I violate my own no pressed meat policy. I should know better and I learned from that mistake :) We sat with 2 couples from Austraila who ended up being our partners in crime the rest of the vacation. Sharon and Paul and Kerry and Mick both were from outside Adelaide, Australia. They were great fun, with wonderful senses of humor so much so that we spent most of the next 12 days laughing our asses off.
The Goeth and Schiller statue.
Earlier in the day we had also met Alun and Lesley who were also Australian and if we weren't with Sharon and Paul or Kerry and Mick we could usually be found with them. Wonderful people all of them and I can say that my trip was all the better because of meeting their aquaintance. After dinner we had a nighttime ride around Berlin and got to stop at Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate.
I had heard many, many things about Checkpoint Charlie and I have been watching mad documentaries on World War II just because I didn't feel I was very informed about it all but to see it live in person was really surreal. I still find it mind blowing that the entire city was split in two and if you attempted to cross from the east to the west that was grounds for death.
We saw a monument of crosses by the river of people who had drowned or been shot trying to swim the river to get to West Berlin. It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that Communism has only been gone for 19 years. I have to say though that there was a lot of things on this trip that I had a hard time imagining, but oh so worthwhile.