Photos and Such...

Wow, I keep thinking that the website's going to be in Hebrew and putting my mouse on the left side of the website to sign into my account. Then I realize it's in German and I have to move to the right side. haha. Anyways.

Last night I went to an open air movie theatre in Kreuzberg with Angelika to see "There Will Be Blood." Oh my God, it was amazing. Angelika didn't like it too much, I don't think. Daniel Day-Lewis' character has to deal with Paul Dano's character, who is a preacher for one of those evangelical healing churches. And in one scene where he "heals" an old woman of the arthritis in her hands, things get all crazy, as they usually do when your preacher heals a person. haha. But everyone started laughing and I was laughing and Angelika said, "I think he's going a little crazy?" And I said, "Uh sort of, this is actually a real thing that happens in some churches in the States...but most people think they're crazy." And the look of shock she gave me was so funny.

But Stuart was right, Daniel Day-Lewis' voice really does it for the film. It makes him appear trustworthy when he's really a very sly and tricky man. Yes, some parts were a bit gruesome and yes, it was a bit long; but it was an amazing film. Even a bit funny at parts...in a twisted and slightly sick kind of way. But I LOVED Paul Dano in it! The only other movie I've seen with him was "Little Miss Sunshine", which should also be seen by everyone! haha.

Today the only thing planned for the Culture Program was Sachenhausen, the concentration camp that I've already seen and don't really want to see again. If I get bored I'll give Mireia or Angelika a call, but I think I'm just gonna chill, do my homework, sit in the park. I haven't drawn in a long time and made a drawing in the train down to Kat's and I've nearly forgotten how much I thoroughly enjoy it. So I'm gonna go to the park and draw, I think. I wish I had my guitar, too. I want to play soooo bad. :( But anyways...what can ya doo?

First, I think I'd like to upload some pictures of Berlin! My time here is already half over and I haven't put up pictures yet! I'll make sure I finish all this BEFORE I get home because I definitely won't have time once I get home. haha.

Ok, I begin with just a couple pictures of the Bier Fest and then move on to the first tour I went on in Berlin called "Spuren des Nationalsozialismus": Tracing the National Socialists, a.k.a. Nazis. It was very interesting and our tour guide was very good. I was proud of myself because I could understand nearly everything he said! Yay!!! It was a brief tour around some buildings, memorials in Berlin relating to the Nazi Party.

Yea, here are the people I'm spending my time with. Left to right: Angelika (Athens, Greece), Mireia (Barcelona, Spain), Erik (Vermont), Luiz (Brazil), Anne (France), and Rafael (Brazil). This now makes 3 Brazilians that I know. haha. Dang.

Really the Bier Fest just seemed like a carnival...only without rides and games and lots of beer. Um, ok so nothing like a carnival, but the stands all looked exactly the same.

Ok, now begins the tour! Here is Brandenburger Tor and Pariser Platz. The famous Unter den Linden "Under the Linden (trees)" street leads right up to it. This was a part of the Berlin Wall and is the only remaining city gate of Berlin. It was built a long long long time ago....1700's? and is one of Berlin's most famous symbols. Hitler wanted to make a new one like 5 times the size, much larger than the Arc de Triumph in Paris, of course! Everything Hitler wanted to do had to be bigger, stronger, and better than the French. Always.

Yea! It's the American Embassy! I realized that day that I had never bothered to figure out where that was. I'm glad nothing happened that I needed to go there for any reason. But now I know exactly where it is: Unter den Linden UBahn Station, Brandenburger Tor. It's to the left of the Tor and was just opened about two years ago. The French one is on the other side. haha, I found this comical.

On the other side of the embassy and Art Institut is one of the more controversial and talked about memorials for the Holocaust. A few years ago there was a contest design for a memorial for the Jewish people of the Holocaust. There were over 1500 applications. An American's design won and here it is. It is very abstract and no one really knows what to think or how to feel about it. I don't know exactly how many blocks there are, but one can easily get lost in them. They are all exactly the same length and width and spaced exactly the same distance apart from each other, but no two are exactly the same in height or level. I don't really understand what the architect was trying to get at...and I didn't really understand that part when the tour guide was talking, either...
But he said he didn't want it to be sad or anything. At first people became mad when they saw other people playing in the memorial, sitting in it, doing all kinds of normal daily activities; but the architect said to let them do that. The point is to remember but move on and go about the daily routine of life. Here is a boy who was running and jumping on the blocks. hahaha.

The tour guide asked us what we thought they looked like or reminded us of.

I thought they looked much like the tombs in Jerusalem Jewish Cemetery...

Someone else said it felt like walking through a corn field...

And yet another person said they looked like a city...

But they're not really supposed to look or be like anything. They're just there. That's why it's a bit controversial. Um...the shadow is me.

Oh, there I am with Mireia.

But it was super cool to walk through it. When we all met on the other side, the tour guide commented on how clean and free of graffiti it was (Berlin is covered in graffiti, so to me, this is a great feat). To keep Neo-Nazis from writing horrible horrible things on the memorial, the entire thing is painted with a kind of "anti-graffiti" paint! I thought that was nifty and that they need to do that with a bit more of the city. Wait, no...it really adds character to the city, I think. Most of the graffiti is really very good. haha.

haha, oh man, I bet you'll never guess why it was so important that I take a picture of this parking lot. Ok, it actually used to be something and was used during the worst time in Germany's history, and now the Germans have decided to completely erase it from all memory. HERE is where Hitler's Bunker was. It has been since demolished, covered over, and made into a parking lot. I think the tour guide said that they've left some it underground, but no one can access it...unless there's some really good reason. And no one ever ever ever ever mentioned anything about this or gave out public or tourist information about it until 4 years ago when they decided to put up a touristy sign across the street discussing as little as possible about Hitler's bunker and that it now completely gone. And why did they wait so long and only just recently put it up? Because Germany hosted the UEFA World Cup four years ago and they didn't want a lot of hype about how they're ignoring everything that happened during WWII. haha. Yes...

One of the government houses! This is where the Bundeskanzelerin works. haha. Erm, that's the German Prime Minister...ress. Because she's a woman. Hitler's original idea for this building was to make it super super super super super super super large. Yep. The entire length of the street and his enormous office was to be at one end. Most everyone would be able to enter from the middle of the building (about where the entrance is now) but he actually planned the building with this EXACT idea in mind: Many other foreign leader (*cough*Mousilini*cough*) could only enter from the other side of the building (I believe it would sit on Wilhelm Street) and walk over 3 city blocks to get to Hitler's office, which would be the largest room in the entire building. Wow, that man had the largest ego problem in the world, I swear.

Hey, it's Nazi architecture! One of the only still-in-use Nazi buildings in all of Germany! See it's large windows which make it appear EVEN BIGGER. Again, Hitler's ideas of Germany: bigger and better than everything and everyone else. Ok, I don't remember all of its uses after the war, but now it's the treasury or something like that...

LOOK IT'S GREEN PEACE MAKING A PROTEST OUTSIDE BERLIN'S TREASURY! hahahahahaha. The large sign is a picture of Josef Ackermanm for the Deutsche Bank (national bank), and he's saying, "Thank you, Germany! euro50,000 subsidy for my fat Daimler!" And underneath something to the effect of "No tax payers' moneys for Climate Pigs!" hahaha, yea.

AND TRABIS!!!! Oh man, the only car to come out of the DDR (Deutsche Demokratic Republik). They're famous, I think, for the creative ways they were used to smuggle people past the Wall at Checkpoint Charlie. This picture's for you Eric, my dear brother. :]

And a part of the Berlin Wall. In this area was a bunch of stuff about the Nazi's terror control and buildings housing the secret police and yadda yadda yadda. I was a bit hungry and tired by this time, so I don't really remember. haha. But there was a TON of information along the wall about this plaza from when it was first built (like the 1800's), through it's use by the Weinmar Republik, then through Hitler's campaigns, then through Soviet Control, and then modern day! I tried to do it but just couldn't too too much info.

Ok, that's all for now. I'm gonna shower and head out on this rather dreary looking day for some artsiness. More photos to come!

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