Monday, May 29, 2006

Berlin Trip Part 1: Kaiser Wilhem Memorial Church

I left Knoxville at 11:45 am Sunday May 21, flew all night, sleeping about 3 hours on the plane. Took a taxi, costing 40 eu (over $50), from Tegel airport in Berlin to the Dorint Hotel in Potsdam. After registering for my symposium, rather than going to bed, I asked a hotel clerk for directions to Kurfurstendamm Strasse. It is also known as Ku'dam.

The easier thing to do would have been to take a taxi there. But, I felt I needed a labor, or task, if you will. So, she wrote some notes for me with info on which bus and train to take to my destination. I felt discomfitted, nervous, and uncertain. I was afraid of making a fool of myself, afraid I'd mess up and get lost or something. I watched as the bus having the proper number came and passed me by. I was at the wrong stop on the opposite side of the road. Then, I crossed the street and waited another 20 minutes for the next one. I tried to pay the bus driver since I thought that was my instruction. He motioned for me to sit down. I then tried to put paper money into the automatic ticket dispenser. But it wouldn't work. Things were not going well. Thankfully a young man asked if he could help. I explained where I was hoping to go and he kindly assured me he'd show me what to do. When we arrived at the main train station of Potsdam, he showed me how to read the train schedule and showed me where to stand for the next train. Looking around, we didnt' see a ticket machine. He told me to climb on board anyway and to ask to buy a ticket if I was questioned. When he left, I went upstairs to the Reisezentrum (trip center) and bought an all day ticket. I preferred to have a ticket in hand rather than cause a possible problem. Later, while waiting for the train, an oriental man was asking people for help. I took him upstairs and showed him where he could buy a ticket. I climbed on board my train and two stops later was at my destination.

My first stop upon exiting the train station was the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniss Kirche. This church, built in the late 19th century, was bombed and severely damage during WWII. It has been partially restored. Shrapnel wounds to the structure are apparent. The tower to one side in the left hand photo is a chapel where one can take a few moments to meditate, as I did. Musical programs are also presented there. I don't know why the background turned out pink. I must've accidentally set a weird setting on my camera.

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