I loved Berlin! They have an interesting way of trying to come to terms with aspects of their past that are…well, you know. One of my favorite forms of this is how the few ruins of the Berlin Wall that remain have been painted all over with kitschy art. I can’t think of a better way to use them.
They also have a Checkpoint Charlie Museum where you can pose with US soldiers, named Dieter and Florian:
I think we didn’t get our pictures taken there because we were too cheap to pay for it. Instead we paid three euros apiece in order to get our passports stamped at the border crossing point at Potsdamer Platz. The soldiers took a look at our passports and stamped us with all sorts of crazy places.
Hooray, we got clearance and some extra stamps in our passports! I wondered if it was a problem to have your real-life passport all stamped like that, but it was too late to change it, and what a damn cool way to spend three euros. Better than that silly Checkpoint Charlie photo-op.
After our history sightseeing, we decided to visit a more modern aspect of Berlin-in this case, a small art museum/one individual artist’s collection. It’s called Panoptikum. We were the only ones there when we entered, and there was a man sitting behind….an antique gurney? An antique surgery table? Something like that. The man behind the counter looked like this guy:
Actually, it *was* that guy. Cool. I asked for two tickets, please, and he printed them out on an antique ticket-spooler. Then he got up from behind the gurney/counter, turned on a bunch of lights in his WunderKabinet, and turned on some theremin-heavy music for us. He didn’t give us a guided tour, but instead let us walk around on our own, while occasionally offering us some suggestions. For example, he offered to take our picture lying in his metal bathtub:
He also said (in a German accent, which makes it funny) “I have some funny hats you can wear…”
Jon’s hat wasn’t all that funny to me because I’d worn those at work before. I called them monkey-helmets because you had to put them on in order to work with the monkeys. Here I am at my old job wearing my monkey-suit, complete with helmet:
So that day at Panoptikum, I opted for a different funny hat.
There was also this picture, which I hope someday Jon will opt to use as profile picture:
Mostly, it was like either being in a Kraftwerk video, or maybe the video for “Rock It” by Herbie Hancock. But what’s not to love about modern Berlin if some parts of it look like Kraftwerk-world?