- Soviet Remains
- My Place
- Amateur Photography
- Pimp My Ride
Its things like this that remind me I’m in another world. This is the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park. I decided to jump on my new ride (more on that later…) and head east from my apartment into Treptow. Buried in the park is this massive memorial to commemorate Berlin’s “Liberation” (I think its safe to put that in quotes) by the Russians in WWII. The red marble on the gates are supposedly taken from Hitler’s chancellery. The main attraction of the massive memorial is built on top of 5000 soldiers who died in the battle. The looming Russian soldier at the top of the memorial is holding a child, his massive sword resting on a crushed swastika. Around the memorial are these almost comic book-like depictions of the battle for Berlin with quotes from Stalin in Russian and German. It really took my breath away and just as I was thinking how Soviet this massive memorial was I remembered the Canadian War Memorial at Ypres in Belgium and the American WWII cemetery I saw just outside Florence. These were just as grand and epic as this. I guess we all feel the need to remember the hardships and achievements of our soldiers, as well we should. I wonder if the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will get the same honour as these soldiers, or will they be treated like the Vietnam veterans were? Little did the Russians know they would leave a much bigger reminder behind.
Ok, I guess its about time I put up some pictures of my apartment. Pretty standard stuff really. It suits me just fine and I always get a good laugh out of my next-door neighbor’s name when I come home.
I awoke one morning to find a set of pictures on the corkboard in the hallway. Who are these two? I took down the photos and flipped through. Much to my surprise the rest of the batch were of these two engaging in lustful acts. Yes SEX, apparently they have that too over here. And there were a few pictures of the girl with (what we hope was) chocolate sauce all over her. It turns out my roommate found the roll of film one night on our street and decided to get it developed. I have yet to see either one of these two on our block yet, but I’m sure I’ll have a good laugh (quietly to myself) when I do.
Pimp My Ride
I finally found a bike! After weeks of searching through expensive bike shops with few or no over-priced used bikes, I happened upon a bridge with a bunch of “used” bikes for sale. As I was looking at one a man with greasy hair and brown teeth came up and asked if I wanted to try it out. So I did – shakily, this bike really needed some work, but I liked it. I bargained it down from 30 Euros to 20 Euros and rode off to a bike shop to buy a lock. Over the last week I have invested 50 Euros and a lot of elbow grease (and figuring out how to fix brakes) into pimping my ride and there she is. New seat, new brakes, new pedals, end bars and some oil. Ain’t she a beauty? Sure she’s louder than a Harley (still have to fix the rattling of the rain guards), but at least the new seat doesn’t poke up into my crotch! What a difference having a bike makes. I’ve discovered new parts of the city, found shortcuts to my favourite places and have been so happy to have the fall air whipping through my tangled locks.
Berlin is a city with miles and miles of bike paths, which is a relief because the drivers here are insane. The only draw back is that the bike lanes switch from being on the road to being on the sidewalk all the time and neither the drivers or pedestrians pay a lot of attention. And Berliners have a knack for making their car fit into any parking space, even if it means parking the rear of the car onto the sidewalk (in the bike lane). Maybe I should buy a helmet.