Hey Everyone! It's been too long! If you may have noticed that i have been having layout problems but it's all back to normal and the post will continue!
Berlin, awesome place. In Berlin I arranged to stay with a guy named Martin though couch surfing which worked out excellent... besides the fact that per-usual we were late. When we arrived he had maps of the city for us and showed us how to use the public tranport. We enjoyed some home cooked traditional german food together and some good conversations. Though he was fairly busy with community projects and homeless aid so we showed ourselves around the city.
In the Czech Rep. we had heard about a wonderful free tour in Berlin though New Europe. Free tour! how can you say no? This was a great experience, the guides do it for tips so they absolutely have to be good. Our guide was a history buff and really took us back to the 2 world war and what it meant to live in Berlin at this time. She took us to the old luftwaffa head quarters which miraculously is one of the only buildings that survived the bombings. Of course if was designed in the typical nazi fashion which was supposed to make one feel tiny and insignificant. The door handles were 3 times bigger than a normal was and loomed above at about head hight. We saw the "monument to the murder jews of europe" (directly translated as such.) This was defiantly something else. It is a huge square in the heart of Berlin, right outside the political offices and 'house of parliament.' I couldn't really explain the way this monument made you feel but i put a photo there on the side, it is a truly moving and disorientating thing. We stood in front of the famous Humbolt University where they are known for burning something other than weed; books. The strangest thing we saw would have to have been a parking lot. We all stood there wondering why on earth we were standing in some smelly dirt back of a building lot. Well it happened to be the location of Hitlers bunker in which he committed suicide. The bunker is still the intact underground rotting away but the German's buried it to be forgotten in the pages of time. No markers and no signs just a bunch of cars. The Berlin wall was a crazy thing to see, it used to stand "protecting" the people and now it stands fenced in to protect it FROM the people. It is truly unbelievable to amount of suffering that one person can inflict on another.
Of course we saw much much more, Berlin is so rich with modern history but i think that if you are really interested you must go for yourself... and take the tour.
On our own Matt and me went to the Holocaust museum which is so true to history it will make you want to puke... but it is beautifully done. The one thing i really appreciated was a whole room full of letters and diaries written by victims of the second world war, it's enough to bring you to tears. The museum follows the life of 6 people who were in concentration camps to try to personalize the 6 million people who died.
Matt and me also went into the Reichstag (parliament house) after waiting for about 3 hours in line! I think we would not have waited if we knew this to begin with, but you get to the front of one line and you think 'thank god I'm going in' but the big door opens and to your surprise you standing now in another line! All in all though it was very interesting. They have a glass dome built on top which you can walk around and from which you can look down onto the elected officials making decisions. This glass dome has a cone built inside of it that makes it structurally sound, it is covered in mirrors by which the building get the majority of their lighting. It also collects rain water which they use, I'm not quite sure for what but they do. The Germans are very ingenuitive people and in this current climate of the world are extremely progressive.
After Berlin we drove to Hildesheim to stay with our friends from L'Borie, Julia, Kai, and Hannah. It was so nice for a change going to place with friendly faces that we knew and not strange 'friendly' faces. They took us out to a local bar the first night where we played a game translated as "don't be angry." Which is exactly what happens to you when you play the game so it a fitted tittle. Good night really! Julia got me hooked on knitting for the first time in years... i've been making all types of gloves.
Our second night there we made them all mexican food and it was fantastic. We had Pico de Gallo, guacamole, beans, and I even made spanish rice with stock and tomatoes. Ohh it was so beautiful! They loved it as well. The next morning we had one obligation for the day, we had to what a soccer game at 4:00, Hannover vs. Bavaria. After a morning of mulling over where to do this we went to Hannover, where it was ICY cold so we didn't spend much time looking at the city and we did spend a lot of time looking at the inside of a bar and a TV screen. Very traditional German thing to do if you ask me, I drank gluehwein (mulled wine) and the rest drank the local speciality of beer with strawberries in it.
On our last day there Kai showed us all around Hildesheim. I think the highlight would be a rose bush that was probably one of the first things to mark Hildesheim, dating back from before 800 AD. The tale says king of the region hid a relic in a wild rose bush sometime around 750 AD and when he returned the rose bush had entwined around the relic and would not let the king take it. So the king ordained the building of a church which would house the relic and the bush, and there it is still the oldest church and defiantly the oldest rose bush. I really liked this story, obviously we were not in berlin if the most interesting thing to find was a rose bush but a still very special little city. That night Julia made us Schupfnudeln
and sauerkraut, which has quickly become our favorite german food; and we played Kings Cup into the wee hours of the morn. For those of you who do not know Kings Cup, look it up online a give it a shot, one of the better drinking games i have played.