Friday, August 10, 2012

Long Time Gone.

I know I haven't written in a while but I'm still feeling sick, sleepy, restless, lonely and so out of it and I know that I need to write but I can’t seem to form anything together into words let alone forming my thoughts. I don’t know what I’m doing right now, and if I can’t write then I can’t feel but I am feeling and I’m feeling a lot, too much, and I can’t get it out it’s just stuck so what do I do..? I think that my body is playing tricks on me, okay, that's just rude.

I just hate when you've planned out a whole story idea in your head and you’re so excited to write it but then you open up a blank word document, note book, whatever, to begin writing it and then that's when you realize that you actually know absolutely nothing about it and you’re completely lost in a sea of vague plot details and random dialogue.

These are my feelings, my frustrations.

On a better note, I leave this afternoon to go to Berlin for the weekend. I am going with Mitfahrgelegenheit again so it is much cheaper than the train. Taking the train to Berlin would cost me €88 round trip and with Mitfahrengelegenheit, I will only pay €43 for the whole trip. Also, when I arrive, I will be staying with a girl from the Netherlands who is studying for her PhD. I met her through CouchSurfing and this will be my first visit with someone through the site. I am very excited! 

Just imagine the history I will be seeing the weekend! The Berlin Wall alone will be a location to behold but then there's the Bode Museum, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate, and I even registered for a pass for a tour of the Deutscher Bundestag, I hear you can see the whole city from up there! 

The Berlin Wall, for those who don't know, was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.

The wall was on the "death strip". All the differences between the countries made it a perfect place for people to express their opinions, especially on their preferences and dislikes. In the 1980s, the wall was reconstructed and made 14 feet tall. Graffiting on the wall became popular for artists from all over the world and a place where tourists would go and admire the artwork. The West Berlin side of the wall had artwork completely covering the wall, while the East Berlin side was kept blank.
Unfortunately, much of the artwork was not claimed by artists and remains anonymous. Because the wall was open to everyone, there were no restrictions on what artists could put on the wall. Over the past 30 years since the collection of artwork was started, much of the controversial artwork has been removed from the wall. Almost all of the wall has been removed and it only exists in places such as Potsdamer Platz, Mühlenstraße, and Bernauer Straße. Painting had been prohibited on the east side of the wall during East German times, so not a lot of new art has been added since the 1990s.

 The Bode Museum is one of the groups of museums on the Museum Island in Berlin, Germany (yes, a whole island of them!); it is a historically preserved building as well. The museum was designed by architect Ernst von Ihne and completed in 1904. Originally called the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum after Emperor Frederick III, the museum was renamed in honor of its first curator, Wilhelm von Bode, in 1956.


Checkpoint Charlie (or "Checkpoint C") was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the separation of east and west. Soviet and American tanks also briefly faced each other at the location during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. After the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and the reunification of Germany, the building at Checkpoint Charlie became a tourist attraction. It is now located in the Allied Museum in the Dahlem neighborhood of Berlin. 


The Brandenburg Gate is a former city gate, rebuilt in the late 18th century as a neoclassical triumphal arch, and now one of the most well-known landmarks of Berlin and Germany in general. It is located west of the city center at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. It is the only remaining gate of a series through which Berlin was once entered. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building. The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees which formerly led directly to the city palace of the Prussian monarchs. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and built by Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791. Having suffered considerable damage in World War II, the Brandenburg Gate was fully restored from 2000 to 2002 by the Stiftung Denkmalschutz Berlin (Berlin Monument Conservation Foundation). During the post-war Partition of Germany the gate was isolated and inaccessible immediately next to the Berlin Wall, and the area around the gate featured most prominently in the media coverage of the opening of the wall in 1989.


And last but certainly not least, The Bundestag is a legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag was established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier Reichstag.

OK, until Monday (probably.) Wish me luck on the trip!
****Please note that the above information is nearly direct quotations from Wikipedia and the links take you to the page where I found the information. I didn't make this information up, and I didn't have / take the time to research these topics in depth. Some information was much better coming from the German Wikipedia though, so some information was a direct translation with word rearrangement.****

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