Hopping The Iron Curtain

Gentle Bloggers,

I feel like this post really doesn’t need much of an introduction. Maybe I could fill your heads with some information that I’ve gathered since being over here? I guess you really have no say in this so I’m going to go ahead and tell you. I’ll title this short segment, “A Zach Butler PSA for Seekers of Useless Information” (brought to you in part by Reese’s).

1) When working out (that’s physical exertion for you couch potatoes), doing one set of heavy lifting is the same as running at a 6-minute mile pace.

2) If you are an ice chewer when having your drink, that is actually a sign of an addiction. It’s a form of the Pica Disorder where one has an appetite for non-nutritive substances such as pencils, erasers, chalk, paint chips etc. It also could mean you have low iron in your body

3) They Flying Dutchman legend is actually true! Well, sort of. Legend has it that the ghostly ship appears to sailors, gliding above the water, just before a storm hits as a way of saying, “Hey, you’re about to end up just like this!” Well, these sailors may not be as crazy as they seem. There is this little thing called fata morgana which is an optical illusion or mirage that, with something to do with light and the moisture in the air, can actually make faraway ships look all sorts of terrifying. It just so happens that storms are the perfect conditions for this illusion to happen!

So yeah, there’s some of the many nuggets of knowledge I have acquired over here in Europe. Only here could you learn about such things…right? Anyways, to the main course of this post: Berlin.

I must say, Berlin was not the city I had expected it to be. Since it is a place so rich in history (irregardless of whether it’s good or bad history, it’s still history) I had half expected it to be crawling with old war buildings and maybe some of the places that the Nazis had outposts. Or maybe not even reaching that far back; I would have even taken some of the more important artifacts of the Cold War since this was the city where the separation of Communism and the rest of the world was never more real. But surprisingly, only a few historical objects remain. Check Point Charlie was one of these that we visited. In its prime it was the gateway for Americans to pass between the USSR and American controlled grounds. It was also a hot-spot for spies to cross through. Nowadays, its run by a German man wearing an American Army uniform and holding our flag. As you can see authenticity is their goal. Oh, and you had to pay 2 Euros if you wanted a picture in front of the check point.

The second place we visited is what everyone comes to Berlin for (I assume), the Berlin Wall. All kidding aside, it truly is a powerful sight to see. Most of the wall is gone but there is one stretch of it that allows you to get close enough to touch it and feel how the people of that time must have felt. Parts of the wall have been knocked out so you can gaze upon the iron bars that held the concrete slabs together. All over the wall is graffiti and boldly written outcries of how insane this wall was. There actually is the word “Madness” sprayed on one part of it. Everyone should visit such a sight at realize how serious people were about keeping the world divided.

As for the rest of the trip; of course we got lost again. At least this time we didn’t stray too far from the blinding lights of what I could only assume is one of the main centers of the town. Really, it wouldn’t be a trip if we weren’t lost at least once. Thankfully it was early in the night so we weren’t wandering around until the wee hours of the morning. Besides eating the typical German foods (such as brats with every ounce of heavy dressing laid upon them, fried meatloaf, and wienerschnitzel) and drinking some of the famous German beer, we took a boat tour of the city. All in all Berlin was an enjoyable city but I wasn’t as impressed as I was expecting to be. With much of it being commercialized and rebuilt I feel as if Berlin has lost some of itself along the way.

Well, until next time faithful bloggers.

Zach

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