31.05.2011 - 31.05.2011 32 °C
Breakfast at this hostel is tied for first along with Eric’s breakfast in Paris. It's a huge buffet with everything imaginable, but still tastes great...and it has unlimited coffee. Of course we indulge, but when you pay 6 euros each for it you better get your money’s worth. We wasted an hour waiting for 10 o’clock, dreaming about the trips to take when we get back. Canoe trip in the Yukon? Schooner to the Great Bear Rainforest? Has anyone won the lottery in our absence? At 0945 we grabbed our laundry and brought it down. We put it in and asked the guy to switch it over for us, we wouldn’t be home. The morning was bright and beautiful as we bought our metro tickets. The tour we were signed up for started at 1100 so we checked in right away. Our tour guide told us to find food and come back in about 20 minutes.
We did get food, from a really nice deli just off the square but a few minutes after we left Shane got his second nosebleed in two weeks. They are really bad, blood everywhere running down his face, his arms and splattering all over the ground. I had NOTHING to give him except a receipt from lunch, which I shoved in his hands as I ran back in search of napkins. When I got back we had to find a washroom, there was one but someone waiting for it. We made it every apparent we needed to go in right away and paid our 50 cents to get in. Since we were both covered in blood we washed up right away. Luckily Shane kept all of his clothes clean, save one drop on his pants and one on his shoe. We were just in time for the tour.
Our tour was to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, the "model camp" set up in 1936 by the Nazis. As we all know the concentration camps were brutal and horrific, there is no need to go into details. One point that hit home with me was knowing that all these people died without a cause. There is a reason I don’t watch horror, thriller, or action movies and that I can’t watch or listen as someone is killed in a movie/tv show/video game. It’s because of the blatant disregard for human life. We watch these people die, even though it may be fake, for our entertainment even though there are real people that you and I will never know who died for nothing. I feel that enjoying even this 'fake death' dishonors the memories of the countless millions who died throughout Europe during this time, their corpses left lying in rotting heaps, or burned, or buried in mass graves. However, visiting a place like this reminds people of the horrors that mankind has and is still capable of committing, and reminds us to not make light or game of violence because it can really happen. Remembering that every life is precious and being thankful, truly thankful, that we aren't faced with the daily terrors that these poor people had to endure, honors their memories. I realize that it is in most human nature to enjoy watching violence. The Romans had their gladiators, the Greeks their sport and people all over the ancient world killed those around them without thought. But in a world where we don’t have to, why now more than ever, do so many people feel it's okay to enjoy violence, even in young children?
At the end of the tour, the guide was running a little late. Shane was the first person to leave the morgue so she asked him to not allow the guard to lock the gates so we could all get out. I was with him when the guard came with the key and Shane did what he was asked, but the guard yelled at him in German and locked it anyway. When she came around to the gate she was really rude to Shane, acting as though it where his fault. We left immediately (the tour was over anyway) taking the first train back to Berlin. The train back to town felt long and on the way a thunderstorm rolled in and soaked everything around us. The thunder boomed all evening long. We were so desperately in need of showers when we got home. The sweltering heat made the dust stick to my feet and they were turning black.
We had dinner at Curry 36, an institution here in Berlin. It rivals for best currywurst in the city. We thought it was very good, best we’ve had yet, but we’ll keep trying more. We indulged in our first fries with mayo. They were so good we went back and got another tray! When we got back to the hostel I went downstairs for a beer (so big it took me 1.5 hours to finish.) While I was down there a guy sat next to me and started chatting me up. He was in his 50s and living in Oslo. Overall a nice guy with lots of good advice for our stay here. He did make one comment though about 'mommy and daddy filling up (my) credit card' which I found very insulting. I tried to drink my beer faster after that. We slept so well we didn't even hear a new roommate arrive in the middle of the night. And that folks, is a feat unto itself.