So yesterday brought me another day of wandering Berlin. I was well due for a haircut, and had asked everyone familiar with Berlin if they had any idea how to find a barber. My friend Al and his friend suggested I go to Kreuzberg to find a Turkish barber. They said to be aware of what was going on around me. I found myself walking through some less than perfect areas, and I let my American presumptive-ness (is that a word?) get the best of me. I assumed the modern 60's-50s-ish apartment buildings that were everywhere must have been from when this was East Germany and less than great places were the norm. I thought it interesting how they tried to make the best of them now with so many bold colors. Of course, my assumptions were wrong, because the area had never been East Berlin. Though a little uncomfortable, I did appreciate seeing some of the less polished side of Berlin. I wandered around, even stumbling onto some sort of protest march - I have no idea what they were marching for, but the group seemed young and in a lot of black with anarchy signs. I finally found a barber who cut my hair, though it didn't stop the 'what are you doing here' looks I seemed to be getting. I jumped on a train and headed further north up to Alexanderplatz, which had been East Berlin and is home to both the landmark tv tower and near a host of old Prussian buildings that have survived. I loved running across the 'Lustgarten' sign - another example of language similarities being unintentionally amusing, as well as the statues of Marx and Engels that still sit looking toward Russia. Al met me for lunch today and then it was time for me to finally leave Berlin. He is one of three new friends I've made so far on this trip, who like my friend Hans in Amsterdam and Richard in Munich from my first Europe tour, are friends that I somehow know I will see again. That alone has made the trip already worthwhile.
Jon Berry2 Comments