Berlin Germany

Academic Journal

Back to Berlin

It has been a full circle. Berlin to Bonn, London, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and now back to Berlin. Plans changed. Ideas changed. Questions changed. Attitudes shifted, weight was lifted, discoveries were found. This crazy idea to go to Europe was realized and now is imbedded in my bones. A shift that is unexplainable and detailed. There is a feeling in each country, even in each city. I can make generalizations, but it feels unfulfilled. I can put it all in boxes and separate the boarders further than they already are, but it seems like all is running parallel. There is a place for each group of people and learned, or unlearned societal norms. I can talk about the history, about the government, war, repression, victories, religion, and bars, but it is all arbitrary when you walk into a hostile at 2am after an emergency train ride to Berlin before ANOTHER train strike, and you get greeted with people that feel familiar immediately. The connection is humanity, seeing a person as a person, an animal as a beautiful soul, and have care for fish. I have met many like minded people at shows that I have attended and this is comforting and inspiring. When I ask what is the difference between America and Europe, the first thing that comes to mind is the transportation system. There is freedom on the rail. I do not feel trapped in a small town when I am in a city like Berlin. I do not feel limited to my own ideas here, people readily have been open to share ideas. I met a friend on the train and instead of continuing separate ways we are meeting up tonight.

I am sitting in my hostile in Berlin. The wifi only works in the main area. The main area is a bar with separate rooms with black leather couches. The table I am sitting at is dark chipped wood, with classic  wooden chairs chairs. It is 12:08 am and this is the first time I am sitting down. The receptionist is telling me to go outside to see the fire spinning show.  How am I supposed to write about what I am doing when I never have time to sit down?

In the hostile I am staying in (Berlin) I have met two people who have spoken to me about Darwinism. One attitude was that there was no afterlife, that everything was black. They understood that energy never dies. This to me is like a candle that is lit and blown out. The body is a vessel for the flame of life that holds the fire that will go out, but the potential for fire never dies. Fire can burn any vessel. He was also a very extreme socialist. He believed in the collective, more than the individual. Like a flame, he saw that we are all the same spirit.

The fundamental principle to how a society functions is a moral compass that subconsciously or consciously directs individual actions.

When I read the myths of German folklore all of the characters actions are based on a belief system that is ruling them. What is the difference between a God and a heathen, their perception? What we worship external is a reflection of what is inside.

When I walk through a city I see only what catches my eye. What catches an others eye may be completely different. What I see is built upon my perception. And yes, I have an agenda, without an anticipated outcome.

Some of the oldest houses in Germany were built in the 14th century. The LVR-Freilicht Museum is a great example of the beginning to building a city. Tied by the scriptures carved into the door frames, the tiny cathedral and the wine press, a village turned into a city. Over time technology advanced with investors of interest. What was all cobblestone and dirt before is slowly being paved with smooth streets now. Before sky scrapers the villages were quiet, without cars, beeping transit lines, and the electronic drone.

The ways of the village were simple.

Presses for wine

tools for woodworking,

wooden barrels for butter

dried herbs for tea

crosses for protection

churches for divination

closet beds

drawers for clothes

The road is made of mud and cobblestone

The village is a tightnit space where bread is baked fresh

The beds are tiny and when a person dies the stayed in the house for days

for the family to say their final goodbyes

The steeple is a tiny house

where prayers are lit with candle light

The doors are etched with words

around the outside

The past is praised in museums

We are standing on the shoulders of graves

Moving on with the future

is like trucking the past on the cracked cobblestone

The cobblestones are heavy

and old houses are bought to be moved into a museum.


Travel has been the remedy to see all of the invitations

To cast security away and find reverence in every story untold

of the history that lives in the walls heavy with story like a cobblestone

The story of how things are the way they are now

The old is mixed with the new

History is preserved and destroyed

A constant debate

Do we hold the time we have now

With the reverence we have for the past

How can we see what will be missed later?

When we destroy history

As developments grew, society was imbedded with the interpretation of the bible set by the catholic, and now christian moral compass. My thesis is that what people believe, is how they behave.

My time in London allowed me to see the extant of the wealth of the royal families. The wealth of the people also seems high. The people in the subway were more rushed than anywhere I have seen in Europe. It genuinely felt like a race, a place to get out of the way. The people were dressed nice in white and tan colors a lot. They all must work hard if they hardly have time to walk slow. The people pay taxes to both the parliament and monarch.

Under God lives royalty

Drinking from golden bowls

drenched in gorgeous luxury

Diamond crowns

Golden spoons

While peasants pray to have their sins forgiven

While the king changes religion

in search of an heir to the throne

in a wives body

The facade of the church falls away

King Henry’s heir is the daughter

of the wife he beheaded

All books burnt

speak to us now

to be written again

I don’t have any answers about what is right, or what is wrong. Christian, catholic, paegan, monotheism, polytheism, monarchy, patriarchy, socialism or darwinism.

It is clear though, that each country has its own style. Berlin is a place that is not concerned with cacky pants. It is in fact cheap and sexy. When I return to Berlin I feel like the world opens up. One plot of land, several districts and I can’t believe I’m coming back to the states in 2 days.



Arc of triumph at the Louvre. A small version of the main one in Paris, and Berlin.

Arc of triumph at the Louvre. A small version of the main one in Paris, and Berlin.

Notre Dam and a street performer

Notre Dam and a street performer

Saint Chapelle Cathedral in Paris.

Saint Chapelle Cathedral in Paris.

The doors to exit were exquisite

The doors to exit were exquisite

Similar to the stained glass window in Notre Dam

Similar to the stained glass window in Notre Dam

Saint Chapelle Cathedral of Light Doorway carving capturing the idea of sin

Saint Chapelle Cathedral of Light Doorway carving capturing the idea of sin

Eltz Castle All seeing eye journal

Eltz Castle All seeing eye journal

Eltz Castle. One of the nearly only original castles in Germany

Eltz Castle. One of the only original castles in Germany



Piecing together Europe

Every city that I have seen in Europe has a church. Not just a church, but a large beautiful cathedral. Churches sing for God. The bells at 5:00 in London rang from Westminster Abbey for at least 5 minutes. It sounded like a grand celebration, like the coming of a new life, or like the feeling you get when work is done. In Paris, chanting in the Notre Dame was the drone that promoted a feeling of calm and silence within me. As Notre Dame prepared for an evening mass the organ introduced a piece of music that rang harmony and dissonance concluding in the center. The common ground to humanity is an underlying belief system. Whether it be taboo, sacred or anything in between. When did God become external? Was God ever internal? How do beliefs of a society affect the structure, laws, environment, and functionality of a group of people?

To begin this large, broad subject, I will use the Lourve as a way to gain insight. In looking at the Catholic based paintings beginning in the 12th century, capturing Jesus and Mary, there is a clear separation between Holy and unholy. Again and again Jesus is a higher beacon of light while the poor man is on his knees praying. What is odd is that Jesus was also sacrificed because the men in charge thought that they were of higher value and moral.  Within the Louvre I also saw a painting of a book burning. There where maps of stars and grids of time on the books. This is very curious to me. I also saw a room dedicated to science in the Louvre. There were telescopes, globes, maps, compasses, and various star charting tools. Astronomy is an ancient art. There was a room dedicated to the Kings, Architects, artists and oddly all 12 signs of the zodiac as well. With the book burning and banning of other gods during the 12th century I am very surprised that the zodiac was largely displayed. The French invaded Egypt.  Egypt was invaded for resources, but the French army surrendered in Cairo June 18, 1801. I can see that each country in Europe has shifted boarders and boundaries many times. Each country needs to protect itself and maintain balance of resources. This is a complicated task when some people believe that it is their divine right to slave others to get what they need. This is why religion is important. Religion is tied with the government and government is tied with regulation. Depending on the time period and version of the bible there are different moral codes about slavery, war, abuse, and ownership of the land. These are the concepts that shape the actions of the leaders.

Bringing the past into the current. Fast forward. It is 2015. It is the corporations job to make profit for themselves. It is the governments job to regulate that the profit of the corporation is not taking away from the lively hood of the people of their country. In America the Media is basically owned by 3 corporations that are the stem to a large umbrella of smaller businesses. This means that 3 corporations are teaching America what they know. Americas military budget is 50x larger than any other country combined. To me, the governments job is to check and balance powers. To me it seems that less money could be spent on nuclear bombs. And more knowledge could be spread about the amazingness of how other countries, such as Germany, the UK and France are ran. However, if other options are known by the majority of tax payers than people would want change, and when they don’t know what they don’t have, there isn’t much of a problem, and the leaders at hand have more control.

This ties into music because it is from the repression of education, voices, and philosophies that change the power at hand that creates enough passion to make music, revolutionary music. This ties into religion because underneath war is a belief system that justifies stealing from another country. Underneath religion is a belief that justifies the creation of boundaries to cut off another country from entering and working under a different monetary system. With the boundaries at hand it is easy for a country to lose money because of dollar value differences. It is also unfair to underpay people who are from a place where their dollar is less. For instance Norway has a very strong dollar that can’t compete with American dollars. One meal at the airport was 28$. If I made money in Norway and transferred those dollars to American, I would have a lot more money, and Norway would be losing those dollars from their monetary system. So checks and balances is the Governments job. There are a lot of governments, and a lot of religions. There are a lot of boarders. The more you know the less you know with this kind of a system.

In conclusion, understanding the history of Europe could take a lifetime. At least I am beginning now. By learning about the patterns of the past, we can prevent the same mistakes in the future. By trying something new, we can at least make new mistakes for the next generations to learn from. This is evolution. We have came a long way. At least we aren’t burning books, witches and beheading queens to marry another.

Bonn Amsterdam and Berlin

I’m sitting in Bonn Germany. In the kitchen of a historic house. The Sunflower Goddess grandfather clock is ticking behind me, and chimes every 30 minutes. The dishwasher is making melting water dripping sounds simultaneously. The tiles are red, and original from the 18th century. My heart is beating fast and it is 1am here. The trains in Germany are on strike, and all long distance trains are out of order. Lizzie and I had plans to go to Leipzig tomorrow for a show. She had to cancel the show because it takes 4 guaranteed train connections to get there. The risk of us getting stuck there, or somewhere in between, are greater than the benefits of performing the show. So tomorrow we are going to Berlin via ride share so Globelamp can perform on the 8th at Madame Claude. From Berlin we have a flight on the 9th to Paris so Globelamp can perform 2 shows in Paris on the 11th and 13th. From Paris we are going to Barcelona. We are mid figuring out what to pack for this next stretch of the journey.

These are some musical cities! Europe respects art with such a degree of passion that I feel more inspired than ever! When I was on the train to Bonn from Amsterdam I was sitting at a table seat with some curious strangers. One of which works for Deviant Art and wants to see my art portfolio! We have been conversing and I am excited to get some of my paintings out there.  I have been working on some more that are half way done. One day I’ll post about 3 at a time. Everything feels back logged right now. The internet is slow, so slow that it feels like shooting darts into a dark tunnel. Booking trains, flights and arranging transportation in general has been a nightmare since the train strike. The reason the trains are on strike is because the conductors want more pay. Traveling by train all through Europe is otherwise incredible. There are usually trains everyday 10 minutes for small routes and trains every 1 to 4 hours for long distance routes.

Since the Against Me! show in Koln, and meeting them in Hamburg ,Lizzie also opened for them in Amsterdam. A brief introduction to Hamburg; our first train stop into the city from the main train station was the Reeper Bon. This was “comforting”. Hamburg is a large city with a lot of districts. It has a port and is North and central Germany. There are more distracts than I could get a handle on in one day. Some lasting impressions were the red light district block. Very bold, red, regulated and legal, with a police station near. In exploring the history of Germany and Europe in general, Hamburg is a city that is built tall with flats, similar to Berlin, except more spacious from one building to the next. From what I saw, similar to Berlin there is a good mix of old and new buildings.

From Hamburg Lizzie and I rode in a bus to Amsterdam. We called the bus a submarine because it had 12 beds, a fridge, and 2 communal areas. It was packed tight and did not expand. It was a very musical experience. From the streets, pedestrians asking Lizzie to sing louder when she was jamming with Laura Jane Grace on the sidewalk. Music takes you to any city when you make it, live it, breathe it. Every city is musical, and connections can sometimes lead you to unexpected opportunities like opening for Against Me! in Amsterdam at the Bitter Zoet sold out show! The opportunities come as you go, out the door, and explore! Sometimes you just have to jump! Plans get you out the door, and into more connections.  In Europe, it has been proven to me that it is less about who you know, and more about what you do. What you do, the skills that you have are what opens doors. I was told this by a fellow Olympian who has been living in Paris and, now Amsterdam for the last 10 years. I have been proven this the entire trip. My life seems to be in awe, passion and devotion to art. This translates to any country. Particularly in Europe thus far. If I find a way to make a living out here, I’d stay. No questions asked.

In Bonn I’ve seen two operas and a castle. The first opera was Fidelio, Beethoven’s first and only opera. It was in German. Fidelio is a woman dressed as a man to play the role of a prison guard to save her husband. Fidelio was the first opera to stage in Berlin after WWll at the Theatre Des Westens. It is a story of sacrifice because the woman risks her life to be a male prison guard to save her husband, heroism because she makes a big scene to rescue him, and comes out to the other prison guards as a female, and triumph because both of their lives are saved at the end.

Then, the next morning we journeyed an hour drive to the Eltz Castle. One of the only original castles in Germany, that wasn’t destroyed in the war with Sweden because it was hidden in a foresty cove. The Eltz family is a mystery that I have just begun researching. I saw their castle today. I will dig up some good connections to the role the Eltz family played in early Europe! For now, this is a great resource for information about the castle.

After a day exploring Eltz castle a few hours later we went to see the opera Solomei.

Internet is starting to go out again….Must publish before I lose everything. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way.

I will have to post pictures tomorrow.

Until then, Cheers.




Week 4 Berlin Bonn and London

1430349560141Berlin is a city with 3.5 million people. The transportation systems are various, and extend to the rest of Europe in a large system. The entire city is built up. The apartments are tall. To get to my room in the flat I stayed in it was 88 stairs. The food in the neighborhood I stayed in was diverse and options ran for blocks. Behind my flat was food, drinks and shopping, and in front of my flat was trains, busses and a busy street for cars. Most main streets have a middle lane for pedestrians and buses or trains. There are three different types of trains. The Underground, Overground and Line trains. There are several bus options but mostly the one that starts with H. Writing out directions to a place takes an entire page in my journal, usually because of the transfers and long street names. I was staying in East Berlin, where nothing is done extravagantly and everything is accessible and cheap. I visited the Friedrich Strasse area and discovered that private corporate business has built an extravagant business amongst the historical buildings. There are pieces of Art in the old architecture but most of the buildings in this area are made of glass, and tall, full of things to buy, or business to manage. This is on the west side of Berlin. From the small glimpse I saw, there is a very clear difference between the East and West Berlin. East Berlin is local business based. West Berlin is booming with big business that towers over in glass. Berlin is a huge city with more districts to visit than I have time there.

I saw the Reichstag Building in Berlin. “It served as a forum for Hitler’s speeches and a rubber stamp assembly of loyal Nazis” (Ladd p. 89) This building is the “Paramount symbol of Hitler and Nazi Germany, and the ultimate prize in the battle of Berlin.” (Ladd p. 89) This building was set aflame February 27th 1933 and Hitler vetoed the demolition of the building to keep it a historical artifact for Nazi Germany. It was rebuilt in 1961 as the Berlin Wall was separating East and West Germany. The building was said to have been for Germany reunified, because it was to be Germany’s parliament’s meeting place. It is now a tourist attraction.



After a week in Berlin I rode the train to Bonn Germany to meet with Elizabeth. The train was supposed to be 5 hours. I ended up being on it for 10 hours because the electricity went out in the first section of the train. It was a long day. Then Lizzie, her Nana and I flew to London the next morning. It was a short, hour flight. When we arrived we rode an hour long tube ride from the airport to the apartment. The tube, or underground, or subway is hectic. Each car, or section was pact! This is normal we discovered through various tube rides through the city. The system is laid out well, and very easy to navigate! I wish there were a tube everywhere! Everyone had a British accent, even the loudspeaker. Sometimes it seemed like its own language….especially when sleep deprived. While in London we visited vintage stores, The Tower of London, The Parliament building, Westminster Abbey, and The Buckingham Palace.  I felt like I just got started, and then had to leave.


The Astrology Shop

There were some really neat buildings downtown London. Some new, many artistically embewed with leaves, flowers and Queens. My favorite store was The Astrology Shop because it had a lot of really neat books. I had to pull myself out of there!

The next stop was The Tower Of London

The Tower of London

This is the place of many royal coronation ceremonies, celebrations, royal imprisonments and some infamous beheading as well. This castle is many separate towers that all correlate together. Each tower was built at a different time. All of the stairs wind, and all of the doors have arches. The history here spans through many families, lineages, Kings and religions. This is where King Henry Vlll married Anne Boleyn, imprisoned her and beheaded her. A classic tale of betrayal. King Henry the Vlll was never meant to be King. His brother died young, and King Henry the Vlll was the next heir. King Henry Vlll then married his brothers wife Queen Catherine of Aragon. When Queen Catherine could not give King Henry an heir, because she older than him and hitting menopause, King Henry then had to make up a reason for divorce in order to be with Anne Boleyn. Long story short….King Henry the Vlll had 6 wives that never gave him a male heir to his throne. Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth l then became the well known Queen that ended the need for an heir to be male.


This is the Parliment! They play a large role in the Monarch that still exists in London.

Tomorrow I’m waking up early to meet with Against Me!

Until, later, Goodnight!

Week 3 Berlin

Even the door handles and locks are different. Food labels are in German, and most people speak English, Thankfully. The S-Bahn train does not have clearly labeled destinations because many trains leave from one place to many other places, and frankly, I’m confused. There are three sections of the city to ride the S-Bahn on, A,B and C. It is almost easy to buy freedom of exploration, except for the chipped card difference between Europe and America, but even that is an easy obstacle. There is a large dance community of everything such as yoga, burning man, concerts, tantra, and people drink beer in the street! The people in the streets are diverse, everything from punk, to classy. There are people out all hours of the evening, being loud and having a lot of fun it seems. The buses are constant and the S-Bahn takes you far and fast. The train station guards on duty don’t check for passes often, but when they do, and you don’t have one it costs 40 euro instead of 3.  All of the buildings are tall, and built efficiently for space.

My host grew up in England, one room mate is from Australia, and the other from Vienna. Two are subletting and the one who’s room I’m in is leaving for a week for a Tantra workshop. This to me says a lot about the transient nature of Berlin. It is the epicenter of change it seems. Most people speak German to each other, but nearly everyone who I speak in English to has responded in English. I am feeling disappointed that Americans aren’t required from a young age to be multi linguistic. I feel as though my education is lacking. I am more inspired to learn another language than I ever have been, as I see the importance of information exchange.

Berlin was divided by the East and West with barbed wire on August 13th 1961, and the Berlin wall (to the west) or the “antifascist protective rampart”, or “border” (To the East) was built a few days later. The East claimed they were protecting their people from the “fruits of capitalism” (Ladd p. 19). When the wall was built everything surrounding the wall became gray and desolate, the life was sucked out of the 100 miles it stretched. Guards were placed intentionally. The transit system had to be abandoned, and gas and water mains were also disrupted. West Berlin supported new age rock artists, and youth on the East, listening through the wall would be pushed away by guards on duty. The separation that the wall created seemed like a mindless political decision when East Germany sealed off West Germany lines and the West did not intervene, The East then “surrendered its claims to West Berlin” (Ladd p. 21) The Eastside Gallery of the Berlin Wall is the longest standing open air gallery. It is a gallery because the art stretches for miles. What is left of the wall is continuing to collect graffiti, and new history is writing over the past. Berlin is known for its constant destruction and rebuilding. “Many of the buildings that survived the war did not survive the peace” (Ladd p. 37) Berlin wants to move on with the future, not be held down by the past.

Exploring Berlin I realize that there are few historical buildings left. There are some main historical pieces such as the train station, and some harmless, abandoned buildings that I have no clue about what there use was. It is clear that most of the housing developments are new. When I first arrived to Berlin, I rode the S-Bahn to the complex I am staying in, on Warschauer Strasse. All of the streets have German names and are pronounced different than how they look. The city stays up late. I hear people partying outside until I go to bed at 3am. I am near the center of Berlin, everything that i want to access is available a walk or a bus away. One thing I noticed to be different is there is a median sidewalk between the two sidewalks next to buildings. The is where the bus and above ground train picks people up. This is also a good way to get out of the way of construction. I hear construction happening now. This is a city of constant movement, as well as tourists. I blend in, so long as I don’t speak. And when I do, people kindly speak English.

The next few days I will be exploring musical venues, art galleries and more architecture. I want to see if there is a clear difference between East and West Berlin. Each morning I wake up with new curiosities, on average at 8am no matter how late I stay up because I don’t want to miss out on what I can find here!


Before I leave

Germany has a rich historical environment. Remnants of the past are alive everywhere. How has the history of Germany shaped the current community in Berlin?  What subcultures thrive there? Where are the metal shows. How does Germanic and Nordic Mythology play a role in the culture in Berlin, Leipzig and Bonn?

I expect that much of the youth in Germany will speak English. I anticipate that middle aged folk will not speak english because of the recent multi lingual schooling updates. I expect to see remnants of the Berlin wall. I will keep an eye open for different districts within Berlin. I think that economically staying in Berlin for 6 weeks would be affordable, even less expensive than Olympia. I expect Berlin to be cheap, colorful, dark and sexy.  I anticipate some culture shock, and having to pick up on German quickly to find my way around. I anticipate a lot of art, local artists and space to create art in the community pockets that I visit. I anticipate seeing history in symbols, architecture, divisions, boarders and behavior. I am curious what religious beliefs and ideologies are common.

I will relish in the cafe scenes to compile the information that I am learning. I am looking forward to discovering a lot of new music. I will adapt to the cultural norms that are there and accomodate my lifestyle to find the most rich opportunity possible. I will find art galleries, operas, symphonies and plays. In exploring Berlin, I will use that as my base to compare the cost and styles of London, Paris France, Amsterdam, Bonn, Leipzig, and Brussels in Belgium.  I will observe the differences in historical remnants and how that is currently affecting each location. I will explore the DIY art scenes and get acquainted with as many subcultures as possible.


Every week I will document my historical understanding of ancient Germany to how that relates to what I find in Berlin now.

I will write an essay on the history of ancient Germany and into the colonisation of Germany through the British Empire. I will discuss major war themes such as ww1,2 and the Berlin Wall

I will write a lot of poetry and make up short stories or myths that make archetypal gods out of the people I meet through my journey.

Week 1

Meet Host in Berlin

Visit 3 Venues in Berlin

-Valentin Stuberl

– Laika

– A

-Antje Okensund –  A DIY Audio Visual Lab

– Ausland DIY basement

-Madame Claude

Visit 3 Art Galleries

Visit many cafes

Week 2

Arrive in London Thursday the 23rd

Explore London Venues

Musical scenes, subcultures and cultural diversity

Visit art galleries

see plays

explore wine and dine culture

record, document and study history of architecture

Week 3

Arrive in Brussels Belgium Thursday April 30th

Explore culture in Belgium

Music scenes, subcultures and diversity

Explore Venue options

History of architecture of select buildings/landmarks

Week 4

Arrive in Leipzig Germany Thursday May 7th

See venue LU99 and see Globelamp show

Arrive in Berlin Germany May 8th

visit Madame Claude musical Venue and attend Globelamp show

Spend 3 more days in Berlin continuing music and culture study

Week 5

Arrive in Paris France on May 11th

Meet Oliver Peel

Explore culture

Historical architecture

Find local DIY bands at shows at venues

May 13th go to Pop In venue

see art galleries


Week 6

Return to Berlin

Finish research project on cultural diversity

Compile list of bands found at each location

List of Venues

Finish Blog posts and writing projects



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