The stereotype of Asian tourists is that they take lots of pictures. This is not a stereotype, it is 100% accurate. There is no way any treasure that exists today can be lost to time because it has been photographed numerous times. Along with whatever placard describes the objects. Here are a couple of anecdotes from our trip. When Anne and Brody were in the Louvre scoring found items, Anne mentioned to Brody that she gave a piece extra points because of the eye make-up. The Asian tourist next to them proceeded to zoom in on the figurine eyes and take a picture. Today, while we waited for a tour, Brody stood against a tree playing on his sister’s phone. An Asian tourist lady got behind Brody, smiled big, and her husband took a picture.
The next generation of Asian tourists are my absolute favorite. Teenage Asians taking pictures of themselves and their friends just makes me smile. The poses, hand signals and facial expressions just get me every time. It is form of entertainment. Even when they are not taking pictures some dress in ways that are just astounding. They do not subscribe whatsoever to a travel wardrobe – and I love them for it. I don’t know what the influence is but many of the kids dress like cartoon characters – and it is riveting. Colorful pastels, bright pink makeup, shoes that they must have made themselves because I can’t see a shoe company thinking the style would actually be a money maker. I want to take pictures so badly but the children tell me to quite smiling and staring.
Our first stop was the Reichstag Parliament building for a tour. This is a great/terrible tour kind of place. It is free (great) but you have to have reservation (terrible). You can reserve on-line (great) but you have to print out the reservation (terrible). We waited in line for 2 hours to make a reservation yesterday. Evidently they need at least 2 hours to process all your information or whatever they do. We showed up at our appointed time, were security scanned and then ushered in. We were corralled with a group outside, then we were corralled in the double door vestibule, then we were corralled in the lobby, and finally into the elevator to the roof. The Reichstag has been through war and fire so the restoration has been extensive. Most notable is the big glass dome on top. They had a great audio guide that knew where you were while you walked and gave a very informative talk about the areas and buildings of Berlin you could see as you spiraled up and down. Then it was over. The tour is JUST for the dome, not any part of the building, including the parliament meeting area. We spent more time waiting in lines than actually touring.
The memorial for the Jewish victims of the holocaust is huge ad very interesting. It is made of rows and rows of giant cubes in varying heights. People walk through it and seem to disappear and then reappear. The camp counselor in me sees it as an opportunity for an epic game of something. Since it is a memorial that would certainly be frowned upon. Under the memorial is an informational center with biographical sketches on victims and families. There is more information on the extermination camps and other sites. There are so many.
Potsdamer Platz is considered the Times Square of Berlin. There were some sections of the wall for the family to finally see. If you look closely though, you can see that the walls have become used gum holders – and they are just gross. I can’t believe the Germans let this happen – sections of the wall were auctioned off for 2 Million Deutschmarks back in the day – these are valuable items being ruined by gum! A large section of the wall is still standing a couple of blocks away. It is intact but every bit of the surfaces that had graffiti is gone and sold as a cold war souvenir. I know my family has their commemorative piece somewhere.
For a few Euro you can have your photo taken with guys dressed like soldiers at the reconstructed site of Checkpoint Charlie. The entire area looks pretty hokey and has a carnival-like atmosphere. We didn’t stick around for much of it. Brody wanted to hit a book store for a German cookbook. He has really taken a liking to cooking and watching cooking shows. After much practice he has even perfected flipping items in a saucepan by flicking hi wrist. He was greatly disappointed to find nothing in English. We convinced him that you could buy German cookbooks in English on the internet for less than $5. He was not so sure but was beyond pleased when he discovered we spoke the truth. He now can’t wait to get home and find his Amazon purchase waiting.
Girls berlin vlog: click here