Saturday, October 6, 2007

Off to Berlin

You'd think the combination of a drinking festival and an amusement park would be a bad one (and you'd be right) but that's what Oktoberfest really is, and we were fortunate enough to have some local girls who had joined our table show us around last night. There was one particular amusement ride that you couldn't see because it was behind closed doors and you had to pay to get in. We would have skipped it, but the locals said we had to go.

Inside, the entire floor was basically just a huge spinning disk. Everyone piles on, they start it up, and then you see how long you can stay put. They alternate between men and women in various categories (this is only men with lederhosen allowed). If they decide that you're staying on the disk too long, they lower that ball you see hanging from the ceiling and start swinging it around, smashing you in the face until you fall off.

I didn't know what the ride was called, but coming from the country that I do, I started calling it "The Lawsuit." It was a lot of fun though -- I wish we could have these in America (if you look closely, you can see my foot sticking out of that pile).
Yesterday was a pretty good day, but I'm glad we weren't staying for much longer. Oktoberfest was fun, but one day is about all I want to spend there . I'm not much of a drinker, but even if I were there is just so much history in this country and I was dying to get out and see it all.Yesterday we went to Oktoberfest again for the morning and then headed out on the six-hour drive to Berlin in the rental Mercedes. Everything here is a Mercedes or BMW, including the taxi cabs and the police cars.

What's funny is that the GPS navigation system doesn't bump up your estimated time of arrival once you start going 120 mph down the autobahn because the system had already just assumed that you'd be driving 120 mph on those roads.

Today, we toured Berlin. That is the Berlin Wall pictured above. Berlin is like Noah's Ark -- there's two of everything. Two zoos, two central police stations, two parliament buildings, etc.

What I found interesting though is how hushed some people still largely are about some of the events surrounding WWII. The slide you see pictured below is one of my favorite pictures from the trip thus far.
It is Hitler's war bunker. It's where he made his last stand, and where he killed himself. Today, it is just a slide. There's not a monument or even so much as a plaque. German tour groups don't even go here -- you have to take an English/American tour to see it (we went on a bike tour around the city, and it was fantastic).

They say that there is nothing old in Germany. What was old is bombed, and what was really old is rebuilt. I loved the country and would really like to find a way to live her someday. Everything was dynamic, exciting, and clean. The whole of east Berlin is like one big construction zone and that half of the city rebuilds itself after the fall of communism. Tomorrow, we tour around for a bit longer, and then it's back home to London.

2 comments:

Mom said...

Son,

I agree. It is my favorite picture now, too. Glad they are not allowed to recognize Hitler in any form or fashion.

Mom said...

Son,

The tilt a wheel (?) looks like fun.

I would sure love to see more pictures with you in them!