RTW Day 30 – An awful start then the East German Museum

Somedays you have one of those awful starts. Kathryn and I had to do washing, but this needed to be tempered by the fact that there’s only eight hours of sunlight at the moment. However, we walked down the road 1.5km away with the weather hovering around zero degrees expecting to find a really average coin laundry when…

We stumbled upon the nicest waschsalon we could have seen! The idea of combining a laundromat and a cafe seems really novel, but on reflection, makes a lot of sense. You have to spend an hour or two while doing washing, why not have a coffee and a slice there, and turn it into a relaxing experience? The woman that served us was lovely, she looked after all the wash settings, and getting the laundry powder. And for two coffees, a hot chocolate, a full load of clothes washed and dried, was only 11.40 euros! That’s about $18!

IMG_3009We then decided to head out, so we stopped by a bakery to grab a pretzel when disaster struck. I had brought along a water bottle that decided to start leaking all throughout my bag. In the past I’ve carried cash and passports in my bag. Today, I was carrying one of those USB batteries, my beanie, gloves, and scarf. All saturated in blackberry-flavoured water. This did not please me. In fact, I was very annoyed. Kathryn was lovely and helped me to regroup.

We then made up a plan to head to a few places, the first of which was the Palace of Tears. This was where people from East Berlin crossed over into West Berlin, often leaving behind their friends and relatives, hence the name Palace of Tears. The whole concept of the East Germany seems bizarre now, but it was real, it was affecting people, and I was alive when it was still around in 1989. In fact, one day I think the idea of North and South Korea will seem weird to people, and people will be able to cross the border in much the same way people cross Berlin today.

Speaking of East Germany, we then headed to the DDR Museum. DDR stands normally for Dance Dance Revolution, a fun dancing game. In Germany, DDR stands for the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. If you’ve ever watched V for Vendetta, imagine that was real, and that was East Germany. What a crazy place. Friends and family were turned into spies against each other. No one could buy the food they wanted, the state just couldn’t satisfy the will of the people. Which is a shame, because in some ways, everyone had a job, and if you didn’t stick your neck out, then life probably wasn’t so bad.

Finally, it was time to say our farewells to Berlin, as we’re catching a train at 7am tomorrow bound for Copenhagen. Oh yeah, so the weather has been around 0 degrees celsius. Matter of fact, the temperature won’t go above zero before we leave Berlin! Based on these facts, I ended up buying a Ski Jacket from a coffee store called Tchibo, for 70 euros! Weird that coffee shops sell Ski Jackets, and weirder that a really nice waterproof warm ski jacket was only $112 NZD. Germany, you surprise me constantly.