Berlin and Amsterdam

28 09 2005
Havent updated in a while..
After the drunken escapades of Oktoberfest i went the opposite way in Berlin. Spent 4 days there learning as much as i could about the history of this city, mainly because so much has happened here. I cant think of a city with more interesting modern history. So spent a few days learning about german history prior to world ww1, during ww1, the rise of hitler and the natzi’s, and Berlin after ww2 and into the cold war. I went on a heap of walking tours as well, this is a great way to see the sights and learn about them too, and it adds a real appreciation to the city. Also its easier to learn this way, ive read on the rise of the natzi’s before but when its not just abstract history dates but stuff that happened where i am standing at the time its memorable. It makes the history seem more real as well. Doing so many different walking tours meant i saw quite a number of sights in berlin. Also went to another concentration camp – again a depressing, sobering and very worthwhile experience. Its sad to think that humanity can stoop to such a trajic merciless low. And its very sobering to think that those capacities lie in most of us – we personally probably would have been complicit if we had been brought up in the circumstances surrounding the third reich.
 
After Berlin ive traveled to amsterdam – the city of my birth.
Its a very cool city. Amsterdam is like a big kid’s playground. Caught up with Alex and Owen and have been spending time chilling with them. Went to see the sights but there are suprisingly few in amsterdam. So today ive been for a bike ride through the countryside which was cool. Now i knew that holland was going to be flat, but i didnt expect there to be so much water aroudn. In the villages i went through on my bike today 90% of the houses has a canal adjacent to their property. A personal little canal where they could keep their boat and access the rest of the canal system. The houses were quaint too. Its weird – the houses in amsterdam are the most cramped and tiny ive ever seen – and the people are so big! – the netherlands has the tallest population in the world. Seriously – i dont stand out  here… Im surrounded by tall blondes.
 
I went to see where i lived for the first few years of my life. ‘The Ark’ was a huge houseboat that seved as a christian community drug rehabilitation centre my dad was running when i was born. I spent the first two years of my life there. I went to where it was.. or should i say used to be. The place where the ark used to be is now occupied by a big tugboat with a large crane – the area is now a construction site/ferry terminal.
 
I tried to go to the hospital i was born at but that has been torn down as well.
Also doesnt look like ill be able to get dutch citizenship even though i was born here. It was disapointing to find that any visible ties i had to the area have been destroyed, but i suppose time keeps moving and things, people and places keep changing.
 
So much has happened in the last few months traveling. Its been exceptional and ive packed heaps into this time. Im now feeling like its time to settle down for a while and base  myself somewhere. That somewhere is england and im trying to decide between settling in London (like every other aussie/kiwi/saffa under the sun) or heading north to Manchester, leeds or hedingley. At the moment Manchester is looking pretty good. I’ll probably end up there fairly soon. Like within the next week. But who knows? Things are always changing – and that includes my plans…
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3 responses

29 09 2005
Scott

Hey man,agree with the comment about concentration camps! My parents took me to one when i was 8, checked it out, it is so surreal i think that A. this happened, and B. they got away with it for so long, i mean, it IS wrong! But, the law failed i spose for a period of time! And it is crazy to think of the extent to which people CAN go, whether it be fair or not!How much longer r u away for man??

29 09 2005
Thomas

That depends what u mean. I dont think im going to be heading back to australia any time real soon. Im going to work in the uk for a little while – hopefuly. For how long i dont know but maybe afew months. Well thats the plan at the moment but who knows things change.

30 09 2005
Scott

Man, i miss my tommy brother! Keep me updated on when ur ass will be home, cause i counted and i will be home in 80 days, i cant wait! I hate this! hahaha

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