So, I've figured out the cold weather. Dress for however cold you think it's going to be, then add another two layers. Sorted!
To get around the the thigh-busting walking activities we've been doing lately, Volks and I hired bicycles today, and cut our way through Berlin that way. Despite the sore arse I'm suffering as I type this, it was well worth it. Cycling through a city and seeing the sights in-between the sights is the most interesting. For instance, today we decided to venture into a very dodgy-looking stairwell, expecting to find a sex shop or something like that. Instead, we find a series of galleries, bars, and indescribable art installations in a condemned warehouse, awesome graffiti everywhere and definitely the Berlin that everyone should see. Bourgoise and unequaled.
You can see the history of Berlin everywhere. And not just the Nazi past, but the 750 years that Berlin has been Berlin, and you just don't get that in Australia. Walking into Bars where the walls are so obviously hundreds of years old, you get a sense of grandeur that I've never felt before. The historical monuments just enhance that sort of feeling. Today, going to the various memorial sites like Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, The Jewish Memorial and various points along the Berlin wall, you can really feel the past weighing down on the city, the lessons learned, and the irrevocable personality that Berlin has taken on as a result.
And, all tragedies considered, it's a good thing. I mean no disrespect, but the strong history renders Berlin an intersting, eclectic place to be, and I like that.
The people are just crazy. Tonight I went to dinner with some friends of Volker's, whom he want to Egypt with a few years ago - all Berliners, and all with their own interesting story to tell. To be honest, it made me feel rather boring, which is not a feeling I get very often