Two days to catch up on...
Yesterday I had breakfast at the cafe next door with a Chilian room mate. He was cool as are a lot of people in hostels. He's now gone off to Nurembourg to study and I'm off on my way tomorrow. Just passing through, our lives crisscrossing for just a few moments. That's what I've come to love about hostels.
So with just over half way through what nationalities have I stayed with?
Hong Kong: 1
After I visited the Topography of Terrors museum. It was free admision and rightly so. It contained a long strip of the original Berlin Wall and gave information on the Nazi's and Hitler's rise to power but, while it was interesting, the information could have been easily read and seen online or at a library. The Berlin Wall was cool though.
I also visited Charlie Checkpoint and it's museum. This was a place in the Berlin wall (like the Brandenburg gate) where things were passed through from west to east Germany (and vice versa). The museum was good but not worth €9.5.
I then found myself some dinner and set off for the Olympic Stadium by catching the metro. The Olympic Stadium in Berlin is the most beautiful stadium I've seen from the outside. Although it has been recently developed it has kept it's old, historic and ancient feel. Just wondering around pre-game was incrediably entertaining and interesting with the old Olympic infrastructure still in place (and slowly becoming ruins) aswell as newer statues in rememborance to those Olympic games.
Inside the stadium is equally as incrediable. It holds 75,000 and the arena is impressive. Considering Hertha Berlin are in a relegation scrap and the fact the game was on a Tuesday night against mediocre opposition (Freiburg), the attendence of 45,000 was pretty impressive. Certainly the likes of Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn can't match that.
The fans created a good atmosphere aswell. Very European and passionate but still very different to the English support. There was very little banter amongst the two set of supporters but instead lots of pro-Hertha chanting and flag and scarf waving. In Germany you can smoke and drink alcohol inside the stadium and at your seat. Made for interesting viewing as the guy in front of me got s***faced and then started on the teenage kid in front of him before they moved. The game finished 2-1 to Freiburg (a late Hertha goal made the last 5mins interesting) and at the end everyone with any plastic beer jug just threw it and the contents over stadium tiers and onto their own fans below. Stupid. I understand their anger but you make sure you don't take it out on your own fans. Perhaps keeping alcohol to just the concourse in England is for the best.
Today was spent mainly in museums or the Reichstag. First off was the Jewish Museum. Very interesting and humbling. This was the best museum so far as it was only around €4 but had tons to see and do. I spent a good 2hrs looking around and reading stuff on a subject that I was only vaguely interested in.
I then tried a salt German pretzel. It's good, nothing not to like. Just salty dough with a crispy layer in a funny shape.
After this I headed to the Reichstag to have my pre-booked tour. This was fascinating and I learnt so much about current and past German politics. The building itself is so historic and you can even still see graffitti from the Soviet Union army that the soldiers wrote inside the Reichstag after they had captured it and forced the Nazi's to surrendor. After the tour we were allowed into the dome section fo the building which offers great views around the city.
At around 6pm I went through the Brandenburg Gate into old East Germany to visit the DDR museum (old East Germany museum). This museum was also brilliant as it was informative of the old communist state but also interactive with lots of hand on things. Again learnt a lot and spent a lot of time reading through the plaques.
For dinner I had a kangaroo currywurst. Awesome, but not as good as pork. I then did a ridiculasly long walk to see the Victory Memorial at night. Berlin is so quiet at night, even around the main monuments. It's brilliant. I can see why people say New York and London do not sleep when you can visit Berlin, that clearly does.