Friday, June 1, 2012

A body in the river? And, the insane german in the hall at 3 AM

The last 36 hours have been very stange.  Anna and I were on out Rhine river cruise yesterday, I had gone downstairs from the open-air deck to use the restroom.  When I came back up, everyone was looking over the right side of the boat, and Anna motioned for me to come look.  I thought that was strange, since we hadn't reached the castles yet.

There was a man floating in the river.  At first glance, I couldn't see any movement and thought he was dead.  But thankfully he was alive, but struggling to stay afloat.  An unacceptable 10 minute or so later, they had finally launched a little boat to retrieve him and take him to shore.  Meanwhile, all the French tourists had been taking pictures and video of him and the whole situation...


Later that night, we arrived in Interlaken, Switzerland around midnight after a long train journey and a walk across the deserted town to the hostel.  I got to bed around 1:00 AM.  At 3:00 am I woke up to a noise in the hall.  It got louder and I realized it was a man screaming bloody murder in German down the hall.  A lot of "No, no, no!"  It grew louder and I could tell he was going from door to door and beating on each one.  It sounded like there were others in the hall either attacking him or trying to stop him.  He got to our room and banged on it and tried to open the locked door, but finally went away after standing around in front of the door and yelling for a few more minutes.

I found out today the police showed up and took the guy, who had started a fight in his room.  Anna said the police had actually burst into her room (in which she was the sole occupant) in the middle of the night by mistake while looking for the guy.

I thought these events were interesting enough to merit a separate post...


2 days in Berlin. On the first day, I wanted to do the whole Germany in WWII thing, so I took a guided walking tour. We visited the Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (named so because the holocaust, while mostly persecution of Jews, also included other groups - and Berlin has memorials for each of them), the former HQ of the Nazi Air Force, and several other sites. I really enjoyed the tour because I learned a lot more from the narrative than if I had just tried myself.

After the tour, I went to Museum Island, home to 5 different museums in central Berlin. I saw a few highlights - the Alter of Pergamon, the bust of Nefertiti, and the huge Ishtar gate from ancient Babylon. Really cool and really old stuff.

I tried to find a good, authentic German beer, and thought I had, but the bottle I had picked up ended up being some kind of dark, sugar-free bitter soda..

The next try, I actually ordered from a bar. I got a heffeweizen which is a German-style wheat beer. It was much better.

On day 2, I was a little hesitant to go to the highly recommended German History Museum due to hitting up a lot of museums the day before, but I'm really glad I did. It did a great job tracing German history (and really, European history in general) from about 100 AD to 1994. For obvious reasons, they devoted the entire first floor to 1919-1994. The format included an audio clip for each main period with accompanying objects to tell the story.

Then it was off to the Rhine Valley for our river cruise and castle exploration the next day.