Stuff and Berlin

Everywhere we go both Denmark and Germany, except Dessau???, we see kids on field trips. Learning out of the school. Seeing what the world has to offer. And from what I can make they are not just one or two hour trips. The older kids are on buses checking into hostels and wandering the streets of the town in the evenings.

The play parks are, if you can believe it, dangerous. They have climbing apparatus 3M plus high with sand as a landing platform. You know sand that stuff cats actually might shit in, maybe. They have spinney things, not quite like our old merry-go-rounds but something you might get sick on. And there are no fences around the day cares. Oh I feel for the wimpy kids of North America.

English is not very prevalent in Germany. In Denmark it was unusual to run into someone who did not speak English, young, old it did not matter. Travel was exceedingly simple for us. We did learn a bit of Danish and tried to use it but anything complicated required we use English or charades. Here in Germany it is hard to find anyone that speaks English. Not even the folks involved with tourists are very good at it. Young, old again it does not matter. The kids are able to help out but still have to search for words and our conversations are stilted. It is not that people should have to speak English to satisfy our needs it is just that I find the contrast interesting.

I find Germans a little bit cold. Not all, it is just I found a few folks out and out refused to stop and help a lost tourist out. They walked by me as if I did not exist, not even acknowledging I had asked a question. From my Canadian perspective I found this extremely rude.

There are not a lot of panhandlers (beggars) here but there are a few. Two or three in Munich, a big city, and at least one in the smaller cities we have stopped at. The kneel at the edge of the sidewalk and not say anything, just hold out a hat. In contrast I did not observe even one person asking for money in Denmark.

Dessau at least the areas around the center of the city is not very well kept. The lawns for the most part are dead. Not one green blade of grass anywhere. The foliage is also very thin, there is as much dirt as dead grass. The weeds in the so called lawns however thrive and provide evidence that people do not cut the grass as those said weeds are a foot high. (the dead, yellow grass could be a result of this summer’s heat wave but we did not see that elsewhere)

Bathrooms in Denmark are an all in one affair. The toilet, sink and shower are in one small space. The drain is in the center of the room and curb to contain water is at the doorway. I remember this because I tripped over those curbs just about every time I entered the WC. In Germany every place we have stayed the can is on the North American model. The shower is contained with the drain inside the shower stall and the curb defines the shower stall. Odd.

As we traveled on the train from Munich to the north part of Germany we noted how with each village, town or city we passed the urban landscape is noticeably more industrial. The places are not as urbane, more of a country feel to the them. They, except where bombed to hell in WWII, look older. I’m not sure if they are not a well maintained of if they have replaced fewer of the ancient structures.

As we fly across the country side in a train we note little raised towers here and there. Not is any particular place or in any sort of order. When we were in Munich I noted one outside of R & I’s place. R told me the hunters used them in the fall. The climb up in the 1M x 1M blind and sit and wait for game to pass by. All Debbie and I can figure is the beer is too heavy to carry about wandering here and there like the hunters in Alberta so they pack in some beer and wait for the deer to cross close enough to have a shot at it.

Berlin

We are now in a BIG city. No edge of town in sight. We rode the train from Dessau today and Debbie was astute enough to notice the train ticket, which we purchased to included the tram within Berlin to our hotel, was an all day ticket for 2. So we had a look at a couple of the far flung things we had to do and did those on a more or less free ride.

Hufeisensiedlung (Horseshoe Estate)

Hufeisensiedlung (Horseshoe Estate)

First stop is to see a neighbourhood designed by a guy named Bruno Taut. The center piece of the area is the ‘hufeisensiedlung’, the horseshoe estate. It is truly a great piece of urban design. There is a horseshoe shape building of flats with a green space the size of maybe 5 football fields in the middle. I think I could live there no problem.

I then headed to one of the main Berlin squares and walked back to the hotel. The small part of the city I saw is an interesting mix of new and old. Some with absolute no redeeming features what so ever and other places I had to stop in my tracks and admire.

Konzerthaus Berlin

Konzerthaus Berlin

Berlin is truly an international city. Sitting on the train, looking around there are people from every continent on earth in one tram car.

Looks like this place is going to take all of the energy we have left to explore it in the three days we have.

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