03 March, 2008

day seven. berlin.

more of the same today. rain and cloudy skies. sigh. i suppose i cant expect a brighter mood from myself or the city. my friend ben weaver, a songwriter and poet from minneapolis, is a berlin aficionado, mostly because he has great friends here (see last post). i asked him for some suggestions of what to do with my day. he laughed because, as he puts it, "im not a great person for actual places because when I go somewhere I just basically walk around and sit in parks." which of course sounds perfect for me, if not for this weather.

so taking ben's advice, i headed for mauerpark, a park along a stretch of the berlin wall that remains. i stopped first at the "erotik museum" around the corner from my hotel. what a waste! sandwiched onto a couple floors between lame sex shops, it was an awful lot of old parchment with crazy cartoon drawings of straight people having sex. lots of big penises and fun for the guys. why must women always be depicted on our backs, receiving this heavenly gift of phallus? that makes me sick in an entirely different way than the medical curiousities yesterday.

mauerpark was equally bleak today. i am sure in the spring it can be beautiful and funky, with its graffiti and dog park and lack of tourists. today it just seemed to re-enact the futility of slamming yourself over the wall. i decided to go with that feeling and after eating my lunch in between raindrops, i hopped on the U2 to see checkpoint charlie. brushing up on my post-war history, i learned that it was one of several places where you could move between east and west berlin, but quickly became a focus for most escape attempts and protests. the museum there is so ancient, you want to go in with a sponge and wipe it down. it's been there a seriously long time. still, it was interesting to read the history of all the escape attempts. people under oppression get real resourceful, real quick. hiding in hollowed out cars, ballooning over, escaping via zip line strung in the middle of the night. be it for love, or job, family or freedom of other sorts, lots of people tried it and some heroically succeeded.

1 comment:

  1. Your travels to Berlin seem similar to Kim and mine...grey. I fell in love with their grand Christmas markets though..(white tents filled the streets, local artists, cheesy American music (cue: duran duran, david hasslehoff and milli vanilli..), hot wine, bratwurst and snow tubing). I loved every second of it!
    When sightseeing, we found the city has "erased" its history post WW2. Instead of restoring and rebuilding what was destroyed, they started a new, with funky shaped buildings and modern boutiques and shopping malls. Check Point Charlie was interesting..the museum was filled with artifacts of escapee creative inventions. After I left, I felt I had to research more on the Why questions that weren't answered anywhere. The Berlin Wall section with artwork/graffiti was intense. b We got a ticket on the U2 for double validating..40 euros really? And so it goes...It was a great experience!
    ps..do you know about those charming little houses that had small plots that filled the land next to the train lines? no one seemed to know what we were talking about when we asked..but they seemed to be everywhere...