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19 February 2004 @ 10:15 am
Five Days in Berlin - Notes  
From February 12th to February 16th, I was away on a short trip to Berlin; my first "real" visit, so I did what every good, culturally interested tourist does and spent most of my time rushing frantically from one location or museum to the next. A full, detailed account of my impressions would probably lead to the longest entry in the history of LiveJournal, so I'm restricting myself to the mere basics *g*

Trip organised by: Several members of my university's history department's film class.

Travelling Companions: Eleven fellow students (eight guys, three girls), a determined, somewhat chaotic history professor plus the suprisingly calm and well organised son of afore mentioned prof.

Accomodation: Haus Wichern, a medium sized hostel run by a Catholic youth organisation. Clean, freshly renovated rooms, friendly staff. However rather spartanic.

Museums visited: Jewish Museum (highly impressive, not only in its depiction of the Holocaust but also in its rendering of about 1700 years of Jewish life) Film Museum, Pergamon Museum (think British Museum with a strong focus on ancient Greece, Near East and Islamic art), Bauhaus Museum (design, art and architecture of the Bauhaus movement. Gropius, Kandinsky, Klee, Mies van der Rohe), Old National Gallery (large collection of 19th century art, ranging from Romanticism and Realism to the French Impressionists. Anselm Feuerbach,Caspar David Friedrich, Wilhelm Leibl, Renoir, Cezanne.

Locations visited: Reichstag, television tower at Alexander Square, Berlin Cathedral,
Aquarium section of the Berlin Zoo, Babelsberg Film Studios, various famous streets and squares

Movies watched: Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken (my take at supporting the ever limping German film industry; the film, however, turned out to be an actually pretty atmospherical drama about teenage love and suicide in the "Roaring Twenties"). Taxi Driver (intense, brilliant, one of the cruelest movie endings I've ever seen. Watching the young, still mannerism-free Robert DeNiro was amazing).

Most impressive experiences: Standing at the television tower's top floor, looking down on the city's lights. Riding the Berlin Underground at night. Walking through a life-sized, about five mether high replica of the famous Babylonian Ishtar Gate at Pergamon museum.

Scariest experiences: Realizing the omnipresence of security checks and paranoia; the fear of terrorism manifests itself much more concretely in the capital than it does in the easy-going Rhineland. Standing on a small, wooden bridge at the Aquarium's reptile floor, just about 1,80 meters above the ancient killer eyes of a massive crocodile.

Books bought: Sonnenfinsternis, a translated version of John Banville's Eclipse. Wolf Schneider, Deutsch für Profis, a prominent journalist's attempt at pointing out examples of bad writing and language abuse in German news magazines and taking revenge on our renowned news magazine Der Spiegel.

Hours spent at the Starbucks at Potsdam Square, reading Sonnenfinsternis resting my poor, much abused feet and waiting for the beginning of Taxi Driver: Four.
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Norah Jones, Long Way Home
Kathyh: Alanna Giles 3kathyh on February 20th, 2004 02:11 am (UTC)
You've made me want to go to Berlin, I already did, but you've made me want to go more *g*.

Realizing the omnipresence of security checks and paranoia;

Was it worse than in London? I didn't think that, all things considered, it's too bad here, but it may be that I'm much more used to it.
Bimobimo on February 21st, 2004 02:19 am (UTC)
Was it worse than in London?

That's hard to tell since I did not walk past any government buildings, embassies or otherwisely endangered locations in London this year. In Berlin, however, I not only visited the Reichstag and the Jewish Museum but also frequently walked past the road in which the heavily guarded US embassy is located.

Also should I say, that it are not the precautionary measures themselves which bothered me, but the rude and exaggerated way in which these measures were enacted. Just to give you an example: When I was reentering the Jewish museum after a five minute break in the museum's own museum shop, the security personel found it necessary to give me full body check& metal detector treatment.

Kathyh: Wisteria_ fanged four thankfulkathyh on February 21st, 2004 06:02 am (UTC)
the security personel found it necessary to give me full body check& metal detector treatment.

That seems a little extreme! I wouldn't be at all surprised by a bag check at a museum, but I've never experienced anything else. I went to a Prom last summer when an Israeli orchestra was playing and I wouldn't have been completely surprised if they'd done the bag check then, but they just checked our tickets as usual.