Tuesday, May 14, 2013

European Research Exchange - Even More Walking

So normally I write my blogs every Friday, but then I realized that that was a weird time to write a blog since I normally do things on the weekends. So it's like, I'm writing a blog about stuff I did like a week ago. I figure it's probably better to just write it after the weekend, so here I am, writing a blog. I think I'm gonna fully switch it so I write one every Monday instead.

Anyways so on Saturday I went on a walking tour. Now people who know me know I don't like to walk, and I've been kinda complaining about it already. But this tour was recommended to me, is free, and covers a lot of places I wanted to go, so I was like, sounds like a good deal.

It was a pretty good deal. (New Berlin Tours)

It all started at about 11:30 AM when I left the flat to head over. It was my first time going to downtown Berlin (even though it's up from where I live), so I wasn't sure how long it'll take me to go. Luckily I made it on time and got onto a tour. We started at the Brandenburg Gate, which is a really big gate.

The cool thing about the tour was that our tour guide gave us some background and context for the stuff we saw, so instead of just seeing a big gate and calling it a day, we saw a big gate and got some history behind it too, which was pretty cool.

It's apparently really nice at night, so I'm gonna go back for that.

The tour started from there and essentially led us through a three hour walk through the heart of Berlin where we got to see a bunch of stuff dealing with Berlin's history, notably World War II and the era around then. Our next stop was pretty interesting, it's called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

Now, I first heard about it from a Cracked article, so you can tell how awesome my sources for places to visit are. The article said it was a pretty bad memorial, and it certainly seemed that way through the Internet. But when you were there, it was really random and out of place. When you walked in though, it felt, really really weird.

Yes, it's literally just slabs of grey rock.

It's a very jarring experience to be in the middle of a big city and then walk into this random place. It's not very interesting to look at, but because it's not very interesting it makes it very interesting. Weird how it works. It's not very forgettable that's for sure.

Afterwards we went through the city a bit more and saw pieces of the Berlin Wall (un-arted) and other old buildings and random places that were historic. It was a very cold day outside and I was freezing since I was only wearing shorts and a t-shirt. We visited a whole bunch of stuff actually, and I have plenty of pictures. One of my favorite spots was the last one, the cathedral in the Lust Gardens.

The name of the garden doesn't live up to it's hype.

It's a really big cathedral, and it looks really nice.

After that the tour disbanded, and I was actually not too too tired. I walked back to the train station which was maybe a kilometer away, and then I was like hey, I can see another monument from here. Might as well check it out too before I leave.

Turned out it was a giant troll. Because apparently Berlin is a really big and flat city, so even though I could see the Victory Column from the Brandenburg Gates, it was still two kilometers away. So halfway through I was like starting to die. It was still ok though because along the way I saw two other things which were pretty cool.

The Victory Column.

It's a giant monument celebrating a victory in German history. Something I thought that was really cool was that it survived World War II with only minor injuries. So if you walk up to the base, you can actually see some chips and dents in it. I'm thinking they're bullet holes, but I have no idea.

Afterwards I realized that the closest station was another kilometer away, so I walked more to that and rode it home and ended up buying dinner at a "Thai" place outside of a supermarket. The food was ok actually, but it totally was Thai food made by Thai people for non-Thai people.

I don't have a picture of the Thai food, but here's a picture of the beer section in the supermarket.

By the time I got home my 3DS said I walked ~17000 steps. So assuming each step is 2 feet, thats 10 kilometers right there. Felt like a boss, but I was really tired.

My plans for next week is more walking. There's a park I want to visit.

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