Berlin! It’s out of this world! There is so much important history to learn from the Germans and especially from this city. It’s a place that is in construction, rebuilding and making up for lost time. The atmosphere reeks of creativity, everything is exploding with self-expression, and the city embraces that sense of independence. It’s a liberating feeling to be here in Berlin, but it’s hard to explain what it can do to a person. Come to Berlin and see, smell, hear, feel it for yourself. I already want to come back.
Our first day in Berlin was like the first day anywhere, we were just trying to get our bearings, figure the city out. We stumbled upon the Jewish museum, not to far from our hostel. The architecture of the whole museum is meant to make visitors feel disoriented and lost. A few parts of the museum had an open ceiling, making the place even less comfortable due to the freezing wind blowing it. Everything was cement, the walls and ceiling, so it was a cold, dark and depressing – exactly like much of the unfortunate Jewish history displayed in the museum. I found that the more disturbing instillations really confronted the viewer with the disgusting reality of the genocide during WWII, an exhibit called Fallen Leaves in particular. It is a dark room with metal disks piled across the floor. The disks represent faces and visitors are encouraged to walked on top of them. It gave the unimaginable sensation of walking across hundreds of dead bodies and once people start walking on them, the silent room fills with the noise of the metal clanking against itself, as if the dead are not quite dead yet, moaning and suffering while they’re stepped on. It’s horrifying.
Another instillation, a maze of huge cement blocks with dead trees growing from the top is displayed outside. It creates a sense of confusion and disorients people walking in the maze.
Once we had gotten into the “permanent” exhibition, I was told I had to walk all the way back to the cloakroom and check my water bottle (it was pretty much empty and disguised in my hat). The guy was pretty rude about it and the whole way back to the entrance all the other employees were giving me the eye and pointing me back to the start. The asshole has told everyone working in the museum that I had a bottle of water (sorry guys) with his idiot walkie-talkie. It was really awkward and I finally just found a trashcan and dumped it. ANYWAYS…It was definitely a place to check out, you could spend all day there if you wanted to read everything, but a lot of it can be skimmed over and get tedious after a while. It’s not a holocaust museum, although it does have many emotional holocaust pieces. It’s a museum dedicated to the complete history of Judaism, offering information of Jews in the renaissance times and other periods where they have been the victims of prejudice. It’s interesting to see that they have always been people with superb trading skills, thus making them successful business people from the beginning of time. Unfortunately, their success made everyone jealous and that’s where a lot of the hatred began – idiot human race.
After the museum we walked the 20 or 30-minute journey back to BaxPax. We thought about finding a metal bar, but decided we were too lazy and instead just went out in Kreuzberg, the part of town we’ve been staying in. We only made it across the street to the infamous Kreuzbuger. Kind of expensive but really delicious burgers of all types, tofu, chicken, beef, you name it. I think it might be a completely organic restaurant too – there are natural food and Bio (organic) shops on every corner, it great. The cold and the museum had exhausted us so we gave up and played pool in the hostel – as it turns out, Mikey is a pro pool player and I absolutely suck. It’s a good thing I like a bit of competition.