Thursday, March 20, 2008

Journal entries from Berlin

Berlin has been VERY rainy. I went to the Jewish Museum, which was probably one of the coolest places I have ever seen in my life. The building is all angles and built of dark metals. The trees in the gardens are dead. Bare branches spindle upwards into the rain. Still, there's an oddly beautiful aesthetic when you walk inside. Hallways and rooms are fairly quiet, and the areas leading to exhibits are sparsely filled--it's not overdone. There is also the must unbelievable and moving tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. Down the hallway you hear this massive sound--like bells chiming at random. It's impossible to tell what it really is until you round a corner and look into an enormous grey room with a ceiling that stretches way up high. The floor is covered in cast-iron faces, about the size of a man's hand. Some have scared looks, others have no mouths. You walk through the room, over these faces and it makes the most haunting, ringing sound that is only livened by the deep echoes against the walls. For a breathless moment, no one in the room moved and the faces went silent. You could hear a pin drop.

I think I will always associate Germany with being drizzly, dark and freezing. My feet haven't been dry all day. We've been warming our clothes on the heater, but the hostel turns everything down really low at night. I'm huddled in my blanket now. I've never longed for warmth like this before. I always thought I'd rather be cold than hot, but It's pretty miserable right now.

Today we went to these fantastic galleries and cafes. The sun came out! It's amazing how much the personality of the city changes when there's natural light. There is so much graffiti art here--years and layers of spray paint cover so much--even churches. Later we went to this great used bookstore, owned by a couple of English guys, called East of Eden. It was so warm and cozy, and made me feel very at home. The person at the desk was nice and gave us some ideas for daytrips around England too. He also said that Berlin is a little sad in winter--much better in the summer--but we were lucky to have a little sun today.

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