Saturday, March 09, 2002

Running down Lola in Berlin

Berlin, Germany
I woke up around 7am, but decided that sleep would be more beneficial. I was out of the hostel at ten to nine. However, I forgot my film, which given that I was only one U-bahn stop away when I realized this, meant that I should go back. I only lost ten minutes. Rode up to the Zoo, where I made reservations for my only important connection—overnight train from Munich to Berlin. Miss that and I miss my flight. Breakfast was apfel taschen. The zoo was nice. They’ve got your usual big animals: bears, lions, wolves, and elephants. I exited the zoo on Budapesterstrasse, where the sun was favoring Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche for a nice photo.






I followed the guidebook’s suggested path, getting some currywurst outside of the church. I walked up to the Siegessäule in the middle of the Tiergarten shortly thereafter. For around 1 €, you can climb a bunch of stairs to gain a commanding view of the Tiergarten and further parts of the city.


I hiked down the Strasse Des 17, Juni and crossed over into the area around Unter Den Linden, where I passed into Bebelplatz—the site of the 1933 Nazi Book Burning. There is a monument here that is really interesting. Buried beneath the square, and visible only thru a small (1m x 1m) skylight/floor, is a room with empty bookshelves lining the walls.

I crossed the Schlossbrücke onto Museum Island. The downside of traveling in the off season is that everything seems to be under construction. The big (approx. 70 ton) granite bowl that was supposed to be here in the lustgarten: gone. Bodemuseum: scaffolding. The walkways beside the Island: torn up.


I bought a “Russian Officer’s” watchoff a street vendor for 22 €, haggled down from 30 €. It has the dates 1941-1945 on it, so it’s safe to say that it’s not older than that. I crossed over the Spree and into the area north of center where I started to wander in the opposite direction I went yesterday. Along the way, I stopped for a large glass of Berliner lager—not bad, a liter for just over 3€. I headed over to Hamburger Bahnhof, a former train station turned into an art museum, like the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. There is a HUGE Andy Warhol portrait of Mao that really dominates one end of the exhibit hall.
I hopped onto the S-Bahn at Lehrter Stadtbahnhof and rode it to Alexanderplatz where I switched to the U-bahn and dropped down to Gendarmenmarkt, which I’m pretty sure is the square where ‘Lola’ kept running thru in the movie Lola Rennt. Many of the places she runs thru are quite far apart, and on opposite sides of town. And so many women have that bright red hair. I don’t know if the color is legal in the US. Anyways, it’s a really nice area that has a guy playing the xylophone.
Notice the fountain and grid pattern on the plaza
Scene from Run Lola Run (Source)

I hopped back on the U-bahn and rode a few stops down to visit Checkpoint Charlie in the daylight. Not really that interesting, other than historical significance. I walked down to Mehringplatz via the Judisches Museum. As the sun is now setting, I figure that I’ll visit tomorrow.

I returned to the hostel to rest my aching feet. Also, I think the low quality pillow at the hostel gave me a kink in my neck that’s been bugging me all day. I rested for about an hour, checked e-mail, and chatted with the hostel staff about what to do tonight. The first recommended place, ‘Erdbeer’, was just off the U2 at the Rosa-Lux stop. It was a nice looking place, but not really what I was looking for food-wise. So I took the U2 two more stops out to another area that was pointed out by the hostel staff.
 Again, not what I was looking for. But it’s now about 10pm. I might also point out that I left my guidebook back at the hostel to lighten the load a little. I had forgotten until now that it has a food translation page. But as I stared at the menu before me, the meals that I recognized were all Italian. I ended up getting minestrone, Miste pizza, and a Cuba Libre. For 11.50€.

I hopped back on the U2 and rode it to Potsdamerplatz, to check out the club known as Tresor. I found it, in an old and deserted warehouse, with a guy behind a locked door. Music was thumping thru the walls, but I watched 2 sets of people give up trying to get the door open before I also left to check out the Arcade at Potsdamerplatz. Got some ice cream, window shopped, and was back at the hostel by 12:15 am.

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