by Berck

I took a walking tour today. 10 marks ($5) for a good seven hour tour around Berlin. The guy who gives the tour was quite knowledgeable, and very atypical of most tour guides which is why I went. I generally despise tour guides and accompanying tourists, but this wasn�t bad.

Berlin has been absolutely bewildering. It wasn�t so much so, until I heard the history behind much of what I was seeing.. Starting really with world war I, the German conquest of the world, the money Germany was made to pay, the crush of the depression and Hitler�s rise to power, the allied conquering and subsequent occupation, the Soviet oppression of Germany and their retaliation for the 20 million dead Russians in WW2… The early period of extreme religious toleration by the Germans followed by the Nazi�s. It�s all written on the walls, in the buildings, the ruins. This isn�t much different than Rome, except the history is all so very recent, so much of it during my lifetime.

The city is fantastically scarred from its division, yet amazingly unified. Because of its having been really two cities for 40 years, the result of the reunification is a monstrosity.

And I just keep asking why. It makes sense in terms of one event to the next, but as a whole, what�s the purpose… And the bombing. Between Italy and Germany, and the damage resulting from WWII that STILL REMAINS, I can�t believe there are Americans who think bombing anyone anytime still makes sense. As evil as the Germans were, it just seems different when you’re here and see it.

The Allies blew everything up in WW2, and while West Berlin was mostly rebuilt, the Soviets left East Berlin as a hovel, exacting revenge on the Germans. The number of buildings still in ruins after so long….

I wanted to write more, but this still isn’t the place to do it. I�m hopping a train to Munchen tonight, and I think I may head to Spain, or maybe just the Alps for awhile. I was originally planning to meet Anne in Switzerland in 10 days or so, and I may still do so…

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