9.15.2012

Walking in Berlin

This is actually a translation of my post in the Italian blog. This was my last year's summer holiday (I still had a violet fringe). 
So, last year, I spent four days in Berlin with my Uncle and Aunt, and this is a (brief) report of my holiday experience.
I have to confess that in the beginning, I was afraid of leaving because I didn't know German, I didn't know how Berlin inhabitants were like, and I was completely unaware of the life cost there. Besides that was the first time for me in a foreign place where I was without guys of my same age.
We left on Sunday from Rimini. With the plane it took something like an hour, more or less.
We landed a little bit past lunchtime, ate a wrustel and left the luggage in the hotel to go and visit Alexander Platz.



I was struck by Germany's people behavior and organization; call me stupid, but when I saw that they were working on a street and did it without creating traffic congestions, my jaw dropped and I was all like "How is it possible?" in Italy even the easiest work on the main roads causes jams and sometimes forces car drivers to change their direction.
Another thing, the trash cans along the streets. Well, in the city I am living now I can't complain, but where I lived before there were something like...15 trash cans for a city of 6000 inhabitants, and of these 15 just 5 or 6 weren't damaged. In Berlin, there were almost more trash can than people, and each one of those had its own ashtray. Thing that here it's almost a dream.
Then I remember when we arrived there were some workers doing some works on a building. Apart that, in order to avoid the trucks ruining the pavement they put cement over a thick plastic cloth, but they put the scaffold up on Monday and put that off on Wednesday...just to mention at what speed these people work.
People there works hard, know the meaning of cooperation, not like here, where fights among colleagues are daily routine and of ten workers 2 work the other eight do otherwise!
I remember it was 7 o'clock in the morning and I went to buy cigarettes, there were workers already awake working themselves to the bone without a complaint. It was just amazing.
Police there is severe (even if, I'd avoid pacing around the metro station at night alone): let me tell you an example. We were at Alexander Platz and a guy that was nothing more than 16 years old asked me to sign something and donate 5 or 15 euros pretending he was deaf. As were I come from we are full of people like these, I didn't let him make fool of me. After I did that a girl with neon pink hair, a long leather jacket...basically dressed like a metal lover, stops me and asks about that kid, like what he wanted and stuff. I found that strange that a German started a speech with me first, but I didn't pay too much attention to that and proceeded to my sight seeing. At one point, I heard sirens, I peeked from the "U" stairs and saw this girl with three police cars around the kid that stopped me before. It turned out that the girl and another boy who was pretending to be such a beggar, were police forces, and they(well I'm not sure if they arrested the kid) stopped that little rascal. In that moment I felt like I was living a scene from NCIS.
I liked German mentality because, as I could see, they don't care if you're gay, wear a piercing or die your hair as long as you don't hurt anyone. But cross the border just a little and then you'll pay.
I was eating an Ice cream in Alexander Platz when two men, almost 40 years old, came out from a shop, hand in hand and kissed each other. You know Alexander Platz is not exactly small, and among all the crowd there no one said anything.
Instead here two guys exchanged a kiss, it was two in the morning and in Macerata not even cats were out, a policeman saw them and closed them in the jail for one night with the accuse of "Obscenities". ARE WE KIDDING OR WHAT?

Another positive fact, but that according to my personal opinion had its negative effects as well, was the separate collection of rubbish system, that is different from the Italian one (I'm not blaming Italy this time!).
Here we put all the different recyclable materials in different bags and in some regions for the paper and plastic gathering there are specific days in which you put the trash out of the door and some specific users come and gather them.
In Germany, whenever you buy a can or a bottle of something they make you pay 0,25€ over the price of the product, and when you're finished with your drink, there are special machines that take the containers back and release you a kind of a receipt, you can give it to the cashier who gives your 0,25€ back.
The bad thing about this is that not every tourist is aware of that, and there are beggars who rummage into the trash cans to collect a good amount of bottles and cans and make money. It's not a nice view. Think that some restaurants put a lock on their bins to avoid this.
The cost of life isn't high as I expected, actually for food and stuff is like Italy (And sometimes even cheaper!), honestly to be a North European city is not expensive at all! Cigarettes cost something like 0,20€ more than here (Unlike England and Ireland).
People...well I had such an inconvenient with a woman, but I guess that was an exception. It was something like eight in the morning, I went out to buy cigarettes and on my way back to the hotel a woman stopped me asking where the Excelsior Hotel was; well, the hotel happened to be the same I was hosted, I spoke to her in English, as I don't know and, above all, don't understand German. She understood what I said but kept answering me in German. I don't know if it was because her English wasn't good (Even mine is not a bijoux...) or what, but that upset me a little, as I think it's quite polite to answer in a manner that the other understands.

Ok, after this, I'll start talking about what I visited there.
On Sunday, Alexander Platz aside, we didn't walk around too much, because the queue to visit any kind of attraction was infinite.
The only building we visited was a church which had a bi-pointed tower. The guide was an elder woman with completely white air and an electric blue fringe.
While we were waiting for my aunt to come back with lunch, my uncle had a painful accident: a wasp stung his hand that became....like this.
On Sunday we just went sight seeing
On Monday we visited the Zoological Garden, and calling it huge is reductive. We got in at nine in the morning ad got out at five in the afternoon without seeing the aquarium and the bats.
Some animals had an insane behavior, they kept on doing the same movements, back and forth, back and forth. For a long time, but I guess they were beasts brought away from the circus or stuff like that, and setting them back to freedom would have meant the death.
So, under this aspect it's better they're in a zoo. (If, instead, they took them away from their natural environment, it's not as fine).
On Tuesday we visited Ritter Museum (To be honest, the museum per se was a little disappointing, there were just some panels that explained how chocolate was made). At the entrance there was a café in which you could make your own Ritter! You choose the kind of chocolate and the several stuff to put inside!
In the neighboring room there was the store, and all the chocolate was so cheap! In Italy a normal piece (I mean the 200g ones) doesn't cost less than 1,60€, there with 1,25€ you bought a 400g one! And there were so many tastes, I'd come back just for that!
I tried one with strawberry, white chocolate with peach, milk and sour cherry, cereals and honey and...I can't recall for how many I ate!
In the afternoon we visited the Museums Island. Basically a museum which includes pieces from different cultures of different eras. We paid more attention to the Egyptian section, that was even one of the biggest. We saw the Nefertiti bust, but I have no photo as for that piece pictures were forbidden to take.
Personally I adored the small part dedicated to Norse culture.
The day before coming back home, me and my uncle went to visit the Botanic Garden...sorry! Die Botanischer Garten (I love how it sounds like!)Here I admired plants from all over the world, it was like being in a fantasy book universe!
I walked on stones spread along an artificial river were Japanese carps swam.
Die Botanischer Garten is formed by a museum (that we couldn't visit because it was closed), the external space and the greenhouses (We didn't seen them whole because it was huge, like everything in Berlin).
We were in a kind of a gazebo near the lake and a coot came closer, I even caressed it! <3
While we were going out,  tens of great tits flew around us, also using us as a roost.
And when I say I felt like I was in a Fantasy Book Universe, I'm not lying. Check it yourselves!
Not to mention all the odd flowers and plants I saw there...
Food? Fantastic and cheap. Obviously I didn't eat pizza, I think it's pretty normal not looking for Italian food in Germany, as it's normal not to look for German food in Italy.
Transports are quite expensive, so it's better to get something like a weekly ticket.
Well, I forgot to mension, near my hotel there was a park with rabbits...
I finally finished to write this post! I hope you liked it.
By the way, if you want to visit Berlin, well it's a great city, if I have to rate it, I'd give it a 9,5/10!




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