09 December, 2004

Second and Last Day in Berlin

What a short stay in Berlin! I´m leaving for Prague tomorrow.

It´s 9pm Berlin time and I am exhausted. I walked and tooked the subway around town all day. I constantly ate on the street, starting the day with a currywürst, then a döner kabob, and a crepe with Grand Manier, and finally a bratwürst sandwich. But I am still hungry now. As soon as I am done with this entry, I´m going to go eat.

I started the day at 10am. I walked east and cross the River Spree into Friedrichshain, an industrial district with lots of students and nightclubs. My purpose there was to see the Eastside Gallery, a portion of the old Berlin Wall that got turned into an open air art gallery. I guess people just come at will and paint their graffiti on the old wall.

Aside from the Eastside Gallery, there isn´t much in Friedrichshain during the day. I caught the S-Bahn train and made my way first to the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market, and then to the Prenzlauerberg District. The Gendarmenmarkt was interesting. The square is flanked on both sides by two large churches (one dedicated to German Catholics, and the other to Protestant Frenchmen who escaped to Brandenburg-Prussia to avoid persecution by France´s Catholic majority). The Christmas Market was festive. But all the art work displayed were really pricy.

Prenzlauerberg is a funky neighborhood. There were lots of artsy cafes and galleries. However, it was getting close to 1pm at the time and I was hungry. So I walked a couple blocks, took a picture of dogs playing, and caught a tram back to a metro station to return to the hostel to eat and update this blog.

In the afternoon, I visited a street display called "Topography of Terror." It is an outdoor gallery documenting the former Gestapo headquarter. It also has a display about Hitler´s "People´s Court," a psuedo-judicial system Hitler used to root out domestic opposition. Initially, the "court" was in the habit of sentencing people to hard labor and prison time. By the end of the WWII, over 50% of individuals prosecuted by the court were sentenced to death. Execution usually took place on the same day.

For the rest of the day, I meandered through West Berlin and visited Potsdamer Platz and Ku´Damm, a popular tourist destination for very high-end brand name shopping. It was nothing exciting but I did see the wealthier side of Berlin this evening.

It is now 9;30pm. I´m tired, hungry, and need a shower. With a 7am train to Prague tomorrow, I think I´ll turn in early tonight.

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