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|From: "Bron Gondwana" <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 08:14:20 +1000 (EST)
What luck! We had decided to do all the museums on Sunday, and what do we discover but that all the big museums in Berlin are free for only one day each month - that being the first Sunday in the month. Yay! We started with the Pergamon - a bit like the British museum with lots of big bits of stone taken from various ancient places and set up as closely to the original as possible. Still, there were some very impressive exhibits, and the view walking in the main door and being in front of giant stone steps with pillars at the top is good. Would help if half the buildings in the area weren't designed in the same style of course... I decided to learn German the hard way - get a book and puzzle my way through with the dictionary to help, so I chose an Agatha Christie book from a market we passed. Hey, it was cheap. Also got a book called "The Xenophobe's guide to the Germans" which is actually quite good, and very ammusing! The Lonely Planet recommends the Austria one too - just a small taste of local habits and attitudes to help you get along, and lots of jokes to help you relax a bit. We ate a "Cafe Beth", a Kosher Jewish place. It was recommended as both very good and quite cheap - as well as vegetarian. The book failed to mention the two policemen with machine guns standing out the front. They insited on searching my bag. Apart from that though, the service was excelent, and the atmosphere so relaxed. We were both very impressed. Checked out the "Old Museum" - actually in better condition than the new museum, which is of course closed undergoing repairs. We wanted to see an organ recital in the main cathedral, but that was only on Wednesdays, oh well. Finished the day at the Parliament House (now back in service after its burning - and 50 years of being in Bonn). The security there is very tight - they took Kate's whistle keyring off her, though they missed the knife I was carrying in my bag. Very strange. The view from the top was fantastic, especially being able to see down into the parliament chambers (make sure that democracy really is working or something - and make sure they remember that the people are up above them, watching). Nobody was inside though, and the lights were out, so we couldn't see anything through the glass. Our tour guide compared the burning of the Reichstag and Hitler's blaming it on terrorists (Communists in this case) and grabbing power with Star Wars - Episode 2. He carefully said he wasn't referring to current politics (well, we had a lot of Americans in the group...) Got back to discover that everyone else in our dorm room had left, and we had the place to ourselves! Nice not to have to creap around quietly for once, there's always someone who wants to go to bed at 7pm, and someone else who wants to sleep until midday.
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