Yesterday we headed out to see a few of the many tourist attractions in Berlin, but not before I hit up the gym. I decided that I should shower there so that we could get a faster start to the day. This was my first experience getting ready at this gym. After my workout I headed to the locker and began searching for the towels. It became apparent that no towels were provided here, but I still needed to get ready because Sanjay and the girls were going to meet me. I grabbed my bag with my clothes and headed to the shower. When I walked in I realized just how comfortable Germans are with nudity. This was a communal shower. No separate stalls. Just stand there butt naked next to a naked stranger. I panicked and tried to see if there was some hidden private shower only to open a door and find a naked man in sitting a sauna. No more mystery doors for me. I decided to suck it up and took a quick shower then dried off with my running jacket. Next time I’ll bring a towel and a little more confidence.
Now it was time to explore. The weather was beautiful and we spent the whole day walking around the city. First we went to see Checkpoint Charlie and a portion of the Berlin wall.
It’s amazing to walk around this city and think about it’s history. Some of it obviously very dark. Standing by where the Berlin Wall once stood and thinking about the incredible links people were willing to go through just for a chance at freedom on the other side. Walking through the concrete blocks of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and reflecting on all the innocent lives taken because of hate and fear. Then we walk a little further and see a gorgeous opera house and think of all the amazing performances that have occurred there. Then we enjoy pure chocolate decadence at Fassbender and Rausch. In some ways I felt a little guilty moving on so quickly from those dark moments in history, but really isn’t that what we are supposed to do. We need to learn from the past and pause to take moment to feel it and reflect but we can’t dwell in it or we will never progress. It seems to me that the Germans do this very well. They do not hide from their past and they want to learn from it, but it does not define them in the present.
Tomorrow per Asha’s request we head to the zoo 🙂