Today we were to be up and down at breakfast by 8 to leave by 9. And in suit with the rest of this trip I had extremely bad stress pukes so I didn’t breakfast, which I regretted later. We had a 30 minute bus ride to a WW2 museum on the outskirts of Berlin, it is in an old soldier museum for Allied soldiers which made it very fitting. The museum houses memorabilia from soldiers, planes and even pieces of check point charlie and the Berlin wall.
The guide that we had through the tour spoke a lot about the presence of the four countries within Berlin and about how enemies became protectors but he glossed over the relationship between the 4 countries and the issues between the USSR and the other 3, which I felt interesting as that is a huge part of the Cold War’s history as well as the role of communism. I understand the very neutral point of view coming from a museum but one can’t help wonder what the people who lived through that think. Being occupied, being told to stay or to go, being enveloped by two entirely different political systems after war. Some things that it brought to mind. After we had a lunch in the museum parking lot we grabbed our bikes to head for our guided city tour. We went with our tour guide “lady hands” through gardens and a park that is home to small cottages where people stay for 8 months a year. We road under the highways from outside of the city we worked our way to the center.
We stopped by many important Holocaust points: a monument for the victims, the Holocaust memorial, and a Nazi prison. the Holocaust memorial is in the center of Berlin, it is very bleak. Simply made up of rows of grey blocks, a good representation of the victims whose identity was stripped of them and made them into these blank slates. However after seeing Auschwitz, the feeling that you feel seeing this memorial is entirely different from that of seeing the camp itself. The memorial really enforces how everyone lost their identity where as the museum below focuses on bringing back the victims identity and showing that they had families and lives before the Holocaust. After having a private tour of the museum we held a ceremony outside for the victims of WW2 with bagpipes and a moment of silence.
We then left, returned to the bus to load our bikes and head back to the hostel. When we got back the hostel was covered in orange for King’s Day with balloons and banners. The best though was the cooking crew who came out dressed in orange with orange face paint too. The Dutch people are very proud of their country and King’s Day is one huge party, which I was happy to attend.
Supper was amazing: I don’t usually track my meals but this one is going to be remembered. It was rice with pork curry, tomato and meatball soup, salad and orange shots. Yum. After supper I went up to my bed for a nap that I desperately needed, which ended up leaving me more disoriented and exhausted then before. I returned downstairs and joined the group for table tennis, which it turns out that I’m not good at. We had some drinks and played some games, but after an hour of that Kristen and I went up stairs and chatted till about 1 am. *This is the night I will note that Kristen and I became good friends, we bonded over our shared issues with other people, it was grrrreat.