So I jumped on a train Monday afternoon in Frankfurt and rocked into Berlin rather late. I checked into my American filled hostel and spent the night doing my washing on Monday and woke Tuesday ready to get some serious museuming happening.
With that in mind museum island drew me like a moth to a flame... I started off at the Pergamon museum which is full of old roman, greek, and assyrian/babylonian type things (including an entire temple front...) Dad would seriously have lost it there... It was pretty cool and I took lots of pics which killed my camera battery... leaving me spending the rest of the day pulling the battery out, and only putting it in to take a photo before removing it again...
Following the Pergamon museum I nipped over to the Bode Museum (rather than wait forever to get into the ancient one with egyptian stuff). Now this one was a surprise package... I went because it had the magic word ''Byzantine'' in the list of things that they had there. Now 90% of the museum wasn't Byzantine, but it was packed with mainly sculptures from all over Europe from the medieval period through the renaissance and baroque and gothic periods etc... Some of these were really crap but some were really cool... Lots of pics again, and I think I found evidence of the worlds first heavy metal promo art... a winged figure in robes playing a guitar in a fairly ''extreme'' pose... Ok it may have been the archangel gabriel playing a lute but still would look the part on a metal album cover.
Both of these museums were pretty cool, but ''oh so serious''... I think if you showed any sign you were enjoying yourself the fun police (gestapo? or is that to unPC?) would descend from their little security room to escort you off the premises... Maybe if the ''plebs'' start to enjoy it and make noise it will cease to be art or something?
Maybe it is linked to my env ed background but I'm all for people actually liking stuff... because if they like it they will learn more, be more interested in it and want to conserve it more... I can accept art is fairly subjective (but if you like different shit to me you're just a retard) but if you have to work really hard to ''enjoy'' it is it actually good art? I'd like to think the number one requirement of good art is for the viewer to go ''COOL!'' or at least ''Wow'' and the holy grail being ''Hey (someone else) look at this! I like this one!... But I think if any of that happened in a gallery or museum the fun nazis would be waterboarding you out the back in 34 seconds... I can accept noise and reaction is just a small step from wanting to touch it (and my first reations to art I like is wanting to touch it) and wanting to touch it (shut up suj) is a step from touching it and touching is just a hop and skip from breaking... but seriously... lighten up...
Anyway that evening I went to dinner with Luca the Italian guy from my room and then we met a couple of full blown "straylans" at the hostel, a couple of Americans and a Canadian. Carla, Steve and Brad were from a contiki tour and to be perfectly honest it was obvious to me... Not quite the approach I take to travelling... There is more to it than getting wasted as cheaply as possible in far away places. After dinner and a couple of drinks I dragged everyone to White Trash Fast Food. Now not to exaggerate at all... but that place is one of the coolest places on the face of the earth... I am now officially one of those wankers that has a favorite restaurant that is on the other side of the globe... But how can you not love a restaurant that takes the tackiest elements of a cheap bar, a chinese food store, punk and then adds a tattoo parlor downstairs... Pity it was a Tuesday night and therefore dead inside... but even then... amazing. And then we spent the last part of the night chilling in the shisha lounge next door. I had dinner here the next night before my pub crawl and walked out with my new syringe pen in my mouth (I'd been writing inside) and got some HORRIFIED looks from some "older" patrons outside trying to decide if they were game enough to go inside... Costing them business much?
The next day I decided to go a bit more "alternative" in my travelling and did the Alternate Walking tour and Alternate anti pub crawl... Both were seriously cool. If you're in Berlin do their stuff... But before I hit up the walking tour I did nip by the Ramones Museum. Now to call this a museum is a bit of an exageration, it's more of a cafe with a shitload of Ramones stuff out the back, and that was good enough for me.
The walking tour got off to a bad start with 2 guys trying to out alpha cool each other. One was just a try hard seppo in Berlin to go clubbing and the other was the apparently "super famous in Canada" graffiti artist "spud" (wankers!). I took a shitload of photos of the street art though and the squats etc.
We also went to Yaam the reggae themed artificial beach on the river, the old railway complex that is now a skate park, climbing complex and half a dozen nightclubsm the East side gallery and the artist squats on "orangeburger" street. All very very cool. One not cool thing, that turned out to be hilarious was an incredibly rascist American on the train. The guys on the tour group were talking about the Oil spill in the states and whether or not it was the worst env disaster in the world and all of a sudden he weighs in with "I think you'll find the worst env disaster in the world is all the chinese and their half a million kids being born every day... awkward turtle time...
I then did the alternative anti pub anti crawl or whatever they called it. That was pretty cool too but had a few to many Americans and Canadians looking to "get wasted" and have a bit of a gawk at the freaks. Starting at the Yesterday bar (which was kinda a cool little neo hippy place) we then moved onto the AMAZING Last Cathedral goth horror rock bar which was soooo awesome. A little dead but awesome. I wish we'd gone in the night before when they asked us (it is next to White Trash). We then caught a band playing (white rabbit dynamite... I've seen better) at a bar entirely illuminated in UV lights... very atmospheric. I did find myself having to resist yelling "Play your old shit!" from the moment they started though. From there we went to Dr Pongs Ping Pong bar... Also very very cool. An absinthe bar followed, this was a little over hyped for my tastes. But everyone just wanted to get wasted (hmmm... losers) and that leads to the never ending is absinthe legal/real and where debate that just bores me to tears... I don't care and can name a lot of drinks that are much nicer. It just has that hyped up reputation. And finally we finished at a hip hop club in the railway complex... awesome venue but not really my scene so I bailed pretty quickly.
I'd also started getting the Berlin PT system down by now... coupled with the fact half the time until I opened my mouth people assumed I was german I'd started to feel quite at home in Berlin. My german did improve a little though.
The next day I went a bit nuts... The Berlin Natural History Museum... AMAZEBALLS. You walk into the foyer with a massive brachiosaurus and a few other dinosaurs and right in front of you is the Berlin Archaeopteryx... my most favouritist fossil ever... Add in a whole bunch of other awesome natural history things, solar system formation videos and a tank of lungfish I was watching swim to the surface to breath and I was pretty pumped by the whole place.
I then went to the Story of Berlin museum (after a slight detour off to lostville)... This place was kinda cool, a little dry in some places but well done. Kinda london dungeon ish in how it was pushing to be interesting (but obviously a less psycho topic most of the time). There was a serious effort to talk about the Nazis though which is a little unusual. The highlight here had to be the trip into a working west german nuclear bomb shelter. Well I say working in that it would work as planned still... but the plans were a little screwed. It could take a couple of thousand people, all of whom would have to spend the whole time in their beds (not a problem and the air quality would be so poor you wouldn't be that able to move). It also took two weeks to set up (good for an emergency then) and would only work for 2 weeks in total... But it looked awesome... very vault tech. They also showed West German army training videos for nuclear defence from the 60s and 70s... very funny.
So after these two quite cool places my third stop at checkpoint charlie seemed almost like a bit of a let down. Kinda lame, over priced and could be done WAY better. They have a heap of potentially awesome stuff they could do there but it's so friggin' dry.
Following all that I had dinner and a relatively early night due to the fact I had a train to catch at stupid o'clock the next day. Eating pizza with a knife and fork is a little weird... and I was also getting tired of soft drink costing the same or more than a beer. An american college boy was wearing a ramones shirt at the bar and I nearly asked if he was going to the museum or had even heard of them... but decided against it because when he said no I'd have to start yelling.
I also started reading my weird eastern european and baltic comics... weird doesn't BEGIN to describe them.
Then next morning I got up at like 6am for my trip to Billund to see Cam and legoland. I managed to get one of those little train booths to myself on the trip to Hamburg (cool), fall asleep and miss my stop at Hamburg (not cool), backtrack through hamburg suburbs to where I should be (kinda meh) and running late for my train by a couple of minutes (not cool) only to find that it was delayed 30mins (cool). So then I hopped onto the train at Hamburg for Copenhagen where they put the train on a ferry to make it there... Yes they put my train on a FERRY... (cool)
Fare thee well Berlin, you were kick ass... but I think you'd be more awesome to live in than just visit...
Love Hugs and Kisses