The Dichotomy of the Amplemänn

Our adventures in Berlin have officially come to an end. Although we have had such a great time in Berlin, I have nothing but excitement for the cities we have yet to visit.

With the goodbye to Berlin, I also have to say goodbye to team Alpha. Even though we are all still traveling together, the teams will change, and we will never have the chance to explore cities together as we did in Berlin. One extremely special goodbye I must say is for the Amplemänn of Berlin. For those who are unaware, Berlin does not have ordinary crosswalk signals. Instead, the city uses either a walking or stopped figure of the Amplemänn to help people cross streets safely.

The Amplemänn is a vestige from the days of East Germany. After German unification in 1990, the government sought to standardize all traffic lights, but the citizens of what was East Berlin wanted to keep the Amplemänn as a piece of the old Germany’s culture. Team Alpha also grew to love the Amplemänn for his Monopoly man-like figure and helpful yet fun assistance when crossing the street. Despite looking like the capitalist figure from a world-renowned and relationship-ending board game, he is an icon from a communist society.

As we begin our adventures and exploration in Munich, there are multiple culture differences between Berlin and Munich that we have noticed. After World War II. The two cities decided to veer in two differing directions in terms of rebuilding communities and society. Berlin became more cosmopolitan and chose to remember its history as a learning tool to help build for the future. Munich decided to double down on its Bavarian heritage. This difference is notable in the architecture of the buildings and in the citizens of each city. While it still has some old-fashioned flavor, Berlin’s downtown is not unlike many cities in the US. There were also many tourists, and most people we met seemed to speak at least some English. However, Munich’s downtown looks exactly as i pictured Germany to look like before embarking on CR. The city has restored many of its older buildings, and it looks like it could be the set of and movie set in past. Noticeably less people speak English in Munich, at least in our first day here.

We still have three full days to explore Munich, which I am excited to do with my new group. My last group was enthralled with every traffic sign we saw, but my new group absolutely loves every exit sign we see because they have the German word “Ausgang” printed on them. Why do we love this word? Sorry, couldn’t tell you, but I can’t wait to see what we will discover as a group.

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