0457 Remembering my Month in Berlin (Germany 006â€”revisit)
Berlin Travel Blog› entry 82 of 201 › view all entries
This next city is a bit different. Iâ€™m not really going with the intention of creating new memories or discovering new places. I already explored this city quite thoroughly and played music in parks and parkbenches all over the city. Iâ€™m coming back as a pilgrimage to the place where my life changed quite dramatically 9 years ago.
Iâ€™m coming back to remember my Summer in
Itâ€™s a good chance for me look back and reflect on all that has taken place in my life since that fateful year.
A look back at the year 2000â€¦
1999 and 2000 were my â€śtransitional yearsâ€ťâ€¦ a lot of my ideals, priorities and goals changed dramatically during that time.
I had spent 6 months in
So instead of heading back to familiar territory, I bought a one way ticket to with almost all the money I had leftâ€¦ a ticket to
I got off at the Zoogarten train station, and started walkingâ€¦ Through a Turkish neighbourhoodâ€¦ through the Bradenburg gateâ€¦ all across former
The next day, I felt like a new man. I had passed the first test-- I had proven that I wouldnâ€™t crack if I were in a country all alone with no moneyâ€¦ So I decided to keep goingâ€¦ And for the next month, I hiked around
It was an incredibly liberating experience. I proved to myself that I could survive all alone and I could completely disconnect from society if I wanted to. It was a turning point in my life, and a milestone I can always look back to to give me strengthâ€¦
Fortunately, I didnâ€™t decide to make this new lifestyle permanent.
Back to the Presentâ€¦
Now Iâ€™m back here in
I head out of the bus station east, towards Zoogarten station where Iâ€™ll begin my pilgrimage.
I pause at the ruins of the cathedral destroyed in World War IIâ€¦ a sobering reminder of the history of the cityâ€¦ then I continue up through Tiergarten, to take a few photos and clips of the monuments there.
One monument that really catches my eye is the imposing Soviet Soldier Memorial, honouring the Russian soldier who perished while â€śliberatingâ€ť the cityâ€¦ Hmmmâ€¦ I wonder how Germans honestly feel when they look at that memorial?
I would really like to have a frank chat with a German about how they really feel when they look back at World War IIâ€¦ but I donâ€™t know that thatâ€™s going to happen. I know Germans feel they need to choose their words very carefully when speaking of that subject with an Americanâ€¦
I continue on to take another clip in front of the Capitol buildingâ€¦ in an area that was a huge construction zone back in 2000 when Germany was still in process of moving its capital to Berlinâ€¦
â€¦And then up through the Bradenburg Gateâ€¦ which I donâ€™t find all that impressive as gates go-- but of course, very significant historicallyâ€¦
Itâ€™s a bit of a tourist trap-- I take a few minutes to rest and ponder in the interfaith peace room over to the sideâ€¦
A protest against the transportation of radioactive material going on right outside the Bradenburg Gate quickly brings you back to the present day and present day issues.
I continue on east, past some of
I reach Alexanderplatz, a focal point of protests in the days leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Thereâ€™s a big display about the fall of the Wall here, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary since that date.
After travelling around East Europe and hearing so many people claim that they â€śwere better offâ€ť under communismâ€¦ its refreshing to be in a country that is unquestionably a post Cold War success story-- reunified Germany.
I figure Iâ€™d better start heading back westâ€¦ so I go south for a ways, past the tourist trappy Checkpoint Charlie and down into the cheerful neighbourhood of Kreuzburgâ€¦
At first I figure Iâ€™ll just hike all the way back to the bus station, but when I realize thereâ€™s no way Iâ€™ll get back in time, I hike up to the glitzy and very modern high rise/shopping area of Potsdammer Platz and grab a subway back westâ€¦
â€¦And thatâ€™s my Pilgrimage Day in