Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Coz I'm all about value

I love the East Berliners - unsatisfied with normal green men that tell them when to cross the road and normal red men that tell them when to stop, they put their own quirky spin on things many moons ago.

But back to the day's news. First of all, I hate phone interviews. Particularly when you're not at home surrounded by your usual interview propaganda. And when the people on the other end of the line have very strong accents and you struggle to understand them. Anyway, I had a phone interview for a job this morning, I can't really say how it went, but cross your fingers for me anyway.

Then, after a nice birthday phone call to Dad it was time to hit the subway (which is above ground...) and get myself down to the Brandenburg Gate to join a walking tour. About 4.5 hours later I got home! It was fantastic. The company is "New Berlin" and they run free walking tours everyday. The guides work on tips so if you don't feel like they deserve your money, then you don't pay. I didn't have that problem with Louis, a young Brit, who was very enthusiastic about German history and very funny as well.

The group went to a lot of places, some I'd already visited over the weekend, but it was good to hear the history behind these places. One of my favourite stops was a carpark.

Yup, just your typical run of the mill carpark, with broken glass and dog turds scattered around. What's interesting about this carpark is that Hitler's bunker was underneath it. Barring a relatively new (small) sign, there is absolutely no indication that this is a site of historical significance at all - a move by the government to prevent extremist groups using the site to pay homage to Hitler. Clever. And quite a fitting end for old Adolf as well.

Another interesting memorial is at Bebelplatz, where the Nazis persuaded students and professors at Humboldt University to fetch 20,000 books from the library which they then proceeded to burn. You've all heard about this I'm sure. The memorial is a simple perspex square in the ground which lets passersby look into a sealed room, with nothing in it except for enough empty bookshelves to house 20,000 books. Very simple, very effective.

It was also interesting to hear that the students at Humboldt university have a book sale everyday outside the building, selling the works of the authors (primarily Jews and homosexuals) whose books were burnt by the Nazis. They sell the books for no profit in a constant apology for what happened there.

It was a brilliant afternoon strolling around Berlin and learning about its history, both modern and less so, and I highly recommend Louis as a tour guide (if you can manage to overlook his tendency to make up words, like "toleration"). He probably made a mint out of our group today, but I figured 4 hours of infotaining guidance was worth 20 euros from me. Only one more night left...I wonder if we can go back to Dr. Pong...

1 comment:

  1. I thought I could let it go...I struggled with myself. But I have to tell you:

    It's Brandenburg, dammit!