We have finally arrived in Berlin after a 3 hour verspätung (delay). The weather is great and the hotel is cleaner then any I’ve ever been in. If we wake up early enough, maybe we’ll see the city during the day. Abends! (goodnight)

Checkpoint Charlie was the old DMZ security gate that led from Soviet contolled East Berlin to American controlled West Berlin. The wall that was erected shortly after WWII was made to halt the flow of western news and knowledge. It was a symbol of a split world… Two superpowers competing for world fame and ranking.

On Unter den Linden sits one of Europe’s most recognizable landmarks. The Brandenburger Tür was one of the original gates leading to the Prussian controlled city. It was commisioned by Frederick II and completed in 1791. The gates have hosted many of history’s poliical celebrities; Napolean, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and of course, Adolf Hitler. We wanted to visit the new dome on top of the Reichstag but it was closed due to a daring Greenpeace protest. 4 repellers got on the roof, waited for a crowd to show, and let a banner saying “eine Ankunft, ohne Atomkraft” – “an arrival, without nuclear missiles” – hang over the famous Dem Deutsche Volke (the German People).

From there we took the U-bahn (subway) to Friedrichstraße and connected to Alexanderplatz. We stumbled upon the beautiful Bode Museum, a collection of Deutsch und Französische Kunst (German and French art) from the early Christian to Byzantium period. The Bode is part of a super complex of 5 museums called the Insel (Island).

The Pergamon is next door and houses gigantic works of art from all over the ancient East world. It is overwhelming in it’s splendor and the first item in the museum is a full size Roman temple. In 2010, two new exhibition halls, Götter und Dionysos (Gods and Dionysus), will open to the public. Other things among the collection is Sumarian inscribed tablets, Priam’s treasure, and early Persian teppich (tapestries).

Behind the Pergamon is the Old National Gallery. This building and the artwork inside it are a tribute to the golden age of Prussia, the Holy Roman Empire, and everyday life within them. The paintings by Menzel stood out the most because, instead of viewing Prussian life as stylized and simplistic, he captures the true emotions of the people in real-time; for example: Breaking their backs in an Iron Casting factory.

After the Insel, we walked aimlessly around, admiring the local way-of-life and finding small, interesting stores.

In Germany, one would find health products not in a supermarket, but in independent medicine stores called Apotheke (pharmacy).

Today’s beer:
Berliner Pilsner – good and light. Berlin’s budweiser.

Erdinger – a weißbier (wheat beer) made in Bavaria. Tasty and delicious.

Radelberger Heffe Weiß – by far the best beer so far. Only could find it at the jazz club.

David und Goliathe

Original Gregorian Chant Manuscripts

Zero to Hero

The Bode Museum Dome

Hey Zeus

Frederick II

The Bode Museum

Jack Daniels/Jim Beam and Cola already made!

Greenpeace protest on the Reichstag. “eine Zukunft, ohne Atomkraft” – a future, without Nuclear missles

Brandenburger Tor

Privyet

Circle of Passports

Checkpoint Charlie Gaurd Gate

Checkpoint Charlie

Get Ready!

Early Sumarian Statue

Roman Ruins

King of Prussia

Ich bin Blau

Definitly going to miss Amsterdam… Now If we can figure out how to get to Berlin. Either the Schnellzug oder die Eilzug (high speed or limited stop trains).

The first train took us to Duisburg. There we changed trains to Berlin. On route, we had to make an emergency stop because the train caught fire. I was waken up by a women in front of me and realized that our cab had smoke in it and everyone was in a rush to get out.
At the hauptbahnhoff (central station), we waited for 3 hours for the Feuerwehr (firefighters) to do their jobs. During our wait, I was captured by the local new station playing guitar for my neighbors.

Feuerwehr (firefighters)

We made the news

Front Page of the News

Badass German firefighter

Jam in the Dam

August 30, 2009

Amsterdam is the friendliest city in the world… Entrenched with dozens of dams, the city channels everyone onto tiny side roads and allyways. We walked down the main drag and grabbed a bite to eat at authentic Thai and Nepalese restaurant. After, we checked out the local coffeeshops and now we understand why so many tourists come to visit. All the people are young and lively; either shwashing down buckets of beer or dancing to europop tracks. Inside the coffeeshops, there is couches, good music, and fun people. Now time for a Strongbow and a game of pool…

In the morning we visited the Rijksmuseum to see the grandeour of 17th century Dutch Golden Age. Franz Halls, Rembrandt, and Vermeer fill the walls.
Next, we visited the Van Gogh museum and ate a traditional Dutch lunch consisting of lachs, fine bread, chicken meatballs, and a beef pastry.
Our tour of museums didn’t stop with the Van Gogh. In central Amsterdam, we walked up and down the RDL (red light district) and stumbled upon the weed and hemp museum. Yesturday was special because we aimlessly walked around all of Western Amsterdam.

At night we went to a local Irish Pub and ordered a few drinks. We found a Jazz club and it was amazing. The house band stuck with classic American standards; Coltrane, Miles, and Dizzy. We met these two local Dutchmen. Both are theatre students and we had a great discussion about the differences between USA and Holland.

Strongbow of course

Friendly place

Orgelkirche (Organ Church)

Cafe Jazz Alto

Hemp Museum

Franz Halls

Me working on the fields of Holland

Like a Virgin… Atlantic

August 29, 2009

Ello’ Govenor… 7:45 am and the fine British tea smells splendid. Customs; not so much.

Finally arrived at St. Pancras Station to take a train to Belgium and Amsterdam.

View of Wembley on our decent to Heathrow

7:35 am at the bloody UK border

Brussel’s beautiful architecture

Wie gehts?

London underground on the way to St. Pancras trainstation

Hello Amsterdam

Anxious…

August 28, 2009

I leave for London and my transfer to Amsterdam today. Ich werde wieder schreiben, nachdem ich mich im Ausland. (I’ll write again after I am overseas.)

Day one was a great success!! My dad and I woke up early to fly into New York for the night to kick off the European trek with the Allman Brothers. The show was amazing and all day we played frisbee on Jones Beach in Long Island. Somehow, we started the day off with nose bleed seats but after playing around the ampitheatre we scored 3 center orchestra seats for my dad, his childhood friend Barry, and me. On top of that we were able to convince the VIP security gaurd to give us passes for $20. Tomorrow afternoon, our flight leaves to London and from there we somehow connect to Amsterdam. We’ll see how that goes. Yagshamesh…

Allman Brothers at Jones Beach

The Three Trouble-makers