Today, we met up got a not-so-brief history of Berlin from our German culture professor Yann. We met in the Mitte (middle) area of Berlin and headed to the Neue Wache, a memorial that had changed its form and meaning over the years. We then walked around Museum Island, the site of medieval Berlin. While there, we got a quick rundown of the history of the buildings and how they connect to the history of the city and of Germany as a whole. And by quick I mean 4-5 hours, but that's ok.
Lunch came around, and by this time, we were all STARVING. Having been on coop for the past six months, I had gotten real used to eating promptly at 11:30AM, so our 1:30 lunch time was a bit late. I'm definitely not skipping breakfast ever again. Ben and I split a penne alla arrabbiata and a ham, mushroom and arugula pizza. It was AMAZING. Clutch meal.
After lunch, we stopped at the German History Museum where we took a tour of the different exhibits. While the tour was very photo-history centric, I personally was so intrigued by the myriad propaganda posters all over the wall. People are always confused when I tell them how interested in Nazi propaganda I am, but I just find it so interesting. They successfully manipulated people's minds through two dimensional imagery, it's insane. Anyways, cool museum, but by the end, we were EXHAUSTED. However, we weren't done yet. I did say it was not-so-brief.
Afterwards, we hopped on a bus and headed to the Department of City Planning, where we got to see a large 3D model of the current and planned state of Berlin - which was really quite interesting. Berlin is in a constant state of construction as new buildings are being built and old buildings are being reconstructed. You literally cannot look in any direction without seeing a construction site.
Now this is where it gets interesting. On our way home, Ramin, Matt and I took a little detour and found ourselves in this building. Now I don't exactly know how to describe it, but it was potentially an abandoned drug hall rave site type of thing. Fun fact about me: I love abandoned buildings. I'm not sure what it is about them - maybe it's their sense of danger, maybe it's the idea that something happened there, something that no longer goes on - from a visual sense, they usually have an amazing sense of natural light, since there's no electricity, being abandoned and all. But anyways, this abandoned building was insane. It was about 7 floors of small square rooms, each decorated with graffiti. However, graffiti in Berlin is totally different than it is in America. It's art before it's destruction. So it was almost like this building was a gallery, with each room displaying a different artist. We got to the 5th floor, until some man caught us and asked us to promptly leave, which we did, but not before we adventured to the backyard. There were pieces of the wall scattered around a parking lot - each, again, with graffiti. I personally was shocked that the wall would be in the backyard of a somewhat abandoned building, it's a huge part of history right? Wouldn't you think that it would be in a museum or something?
We left right after, and as of now haven't gotten arrested, so we're A-OK.