(3.5) (193 vote)
August 21 2002
Pros: So much to look
I really liked Berlin especially the fact that it wasnt raining.
The sightseeing was quite tiring but the hostel was top notch. Everything,
and I mean everything, was Ikea and they used cardkeys for the rooms.
It was definitely the most modern hostel I have been in thus far.
Not to mention the staff who were more than helpful. I ate the biggest
pizza in the world with Greg from the US...it didnt even fit on
the pan. I went and visited the new german political building with
Sandra, a teacher from Canada. Have I mentioned how many teachers
I have met along the way? I think that prolly 50 percent of the
people I meet at teachers on summer break. Hum. No wonder I am learning
so much. I also met some young Aussie guys who partied REALLY hard
and thought they could get away with pretending to burn my toes
with a lighter...nice try Jono and Charlie, I'll get you back when
I am in Oz;) I also lost my wallet in a Berlin UBaun...I played
a frantic game of charades with the train guard as Kelly and Christi
who came with me to the concentration camp, tried to assist. I wouldnt
let myself cry. I wouldnt give in to the thought that it wouldnt
be found. And guess what? The train guard came back five minutes
later and told me it was found and was waiting for me two stops
up. I almost kissed him.
On the train out of Germany I found my my mood getting lighter.
As enjoyable as it was, the history was quite heavy so it was nice
to see cornfields and windmills...The countryside changed quite
drastically in a short time...I was playing a very lucky game of
Yahtzee (in which I got 4 yahtzees in 2 games! Michelle didnt want
to play games any more with me after I had already kicked her butt
in Gin) so I decided to study the scenery. There were fields of
green and farmers tilling their land. The houses became tall and
steep with very pointed roofs. It was all I had hope the Netherlands
to be. I stepped off the train in Amsterdam into a train station
FILLED with sweets, bakery, ice cream, pizza....oh you name it.
It dawned on me that I would prolly put on a few pound in this stop.
I walked out to find my hostel and the streets were very crowded.
More than anywhere else I had been so far. Ahead of me was the Heiniken
Brewery (mental note to remember location for tour later) and very
tall historic looking buildings. There is so much to look at here...something
for everyone I am sure. I found my hostel which is overlooking a
nice canal in the heart of the red light district. At first I wasnt
so sure but it appears to be quite safe. The streets are riddled
with coffeeshops (where they dont sell coffee) and other shops (where
they also dont sell coffee). I wasnt sure where the term red light
was coined because as far as I could see there were not alot of
neon red signs...Later on after I had settled in and had a bite
to eat, I decided to venture out again. Now it all made sense. There
are women for sale in windows surrounded by red lights. I felt sad
about it. I wondered if they were happy. There are people here dressed
up in costumes and lots of others that just act funny. One guy jumped
in a canal and was happy about it for the first ten seconds until
he realized it was cold and dirty and screamed to be fished out.
My hostel shows movies so its nice on rainy days like yesterday
when everyone gathers in the TV room and visits. Some people were
commenting on how nice it was until yesterday and that I must have
brought the rain...I thought, you have no idea pal. So I went to
the Van Gogh museum which was really nice except that it was much
smaller than I had originally thought it would be. Still it was
a nice display and I learn quite alot about the man. Today I went
to the Anne Frank house and experienced a taste of what it was like
to live in hiding from the SS during the war. I was touched by the
bravery and honesty of this beautiful child. The house has been
preserved and it has excerpts from Annes diary throughout. They
also have on display her actual diary. Near the end there is a plethora
of educational materials, many multimedia. There is also a room
where you can watch a short film supporting Freedom of Expression
and then one supporting Anti-Dicrimination. Then at the end of both
arguements, you push a red or green button corresponding which which
you agree with. Then it shows the room how many votes each got.
It was very enlightening and thought provoking. The examples were
very interesting as well. I met Nicole from Calgary and tonight
is her last night in Europe so she, Michelle and Alice who are my
new Oz friends are going to out and celebrate. We have tickets to
Boom Chicago which should be fun from what I hear. Its a comedy
improv act. I hope all is well where you are. I will try and come
back to write again tomorrow.
I am still in Amsterdam and I have been having a great time. Yesterday
I sat in Dam Square and watched all the performers. There was a
silver painted sax player who would play you a song if you put money
in his silver paint can. A little boy of about 4 was intrigued by
the man and tried everything to get him to move. He had a little
plastic sword that he was jabbing at him....nothing. This guy is
good at what he does. Then the little boy attempted the obvious
next solution...He stuck his sword in the mans paint can and the
noise that came out of the sax was very clearly " I dont think
so Kid". It was great. There was a Jim Carry, a Medievil Warrior,
and other clowns of sorts. It was very much a carnival atmosphere.
I was amazed at how friendly the police were. They were just standing
around helping tourists, giving directions and showing them how
to feed the pigeons. I met a few locals living in Amsterdam and
made sure to let them know how lucky they were to live in such a
nice city. The canals are beautiful and there are so many kodak
moment bridges. The buildings are so old but in such good condition.
There was a great Brazilian dance band that was playing as I looked
up to see the time and realized it was a sun clock. Cool I thought,
until I realized that the time was two hours early. The sunclock
is wrong in Dam Square and no one has bothered to fix it. Only in