May 14th, flickr greeted me with a very apporpriate hello.
Leaving for my trip to Berlin was a little scary. I knew where I was going, but not knowing anyone and doing this much travel on my own, was sort of daunting. Basically, I had to get to Berlin, get myself to the apartments and everything would be great.
I decided to fly through Copenhagen, as I did last year for spring break. (At some point, I’m making Copenhagen a desitination in itself.) The flight there wasn’t bad, I slept almost the entire flight. Then I had a four hour layover. Not that bad, got an overpriced latte from Starbucks. Then walked leisurely around till I found a seat, and read trashy magazines, spent some time online and people watched. I saw a crazy man trying to cut the passport control line, like not just cut people, but cut barriers!That was probably the best part of that day. Although he had that crazy eyed, missing tooth, addict type, fresh off Cops look, he was the most well dressed, in a totally European way, crazy person I’ve ever seen.
I don’t remember my connecting flight to Berlin, except for that at the airport I had to pick out my seat, and randomly chose what I thought was a window seat. Of course the seat I got wasn’t a window seat, it was right by the exit, so I had no window and it was non-reclining.
I was really happy to get off the plane, good thing it was only an hour.
I had this crazy idea that I would make it to the apartments without taking a taxi. Dragging my luggage from the carousel out to the curb had me flagging down the first taxi I saw. I couldn’t believe I made it!
From here on is where everything gets kinda fuzzy. I had 2 classes, 3 days a week. So I had a 4 day weekend, after two pretty homework intense classes. Like, I would stay up the entire night doing homework, taking 10 minute naps every so often so I wouldn’t be absolutely dead the next day. I met so many people, and had tons of fun that I can’t begin to describe.
I think one of the first things we did in Berlin was go on a boat tour. It was either bike or boat…not a hard decision for me. It was really interesting to see Berlin from a different perspective.
The following day, our program had a scavenger hunt around Berlin. My group won! and we all got mugs.
Which was totally perfect, because my shopping list had “MUG!!!!!” written all over it. The apartment had tiny tea cups. They also lacked a microwave, and a spatula (I did end up buying one).
I forgot to upload most of the pictures of the apartment, but here are a few…
The apartments we had were in Kreuzberg, in one of those primary-color colored buildings.
Our room came complete with it’s very own bullet hole. They told me it was just like an air gun or something though.
and part of the living room, all the lights went out in the living room at the same time so I improvised!
Close to the beginning of the trip, I went on a class trip to the zoo. I didn’t get to see everything because I had a following class later in the afternoon. I’m just glad I went though, since I ran out of ambition towards the end of the trip..procrastinating with myself that I had so much time, and didn’t have to do everything at once.
I loved the panda! It was so rolly and sweet.
I also discovered that orangatangs are absolutely terrifying. TERRIFYING!!!!
I also had a chance to visit the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. I’ve wanted to go the last two times I was in Berlin. The program had a group trip, and I’m glad I finally got to see it. I felt sort of weird taking pictures there, and my camera battery died on the way there, but I decided I had to take some pictures and used my phone instead.
We met a really friendly cat on the walk to the entrance.
It was really sad and disturbing, but again I’m glad I did go.
Another trip we took, was to Dessau and then to Weimar.
In Dessau, we went to the Bauhaus campus. I don’t totally understand the Bauhaus concept. I get that it was revolutionary for it’s time, and that’s about all that I appreciate it for. It’s pretty ugly. I did like their color combinations though.
Then we went back on the bus and continued to Weimar.
I really enjoyed the scenery out the bus window. It was so country, and scenic.
and they had windmills everywhere.
This is the view from the hotel room…
Weimar is a lovely little town, but I felt like I did 75% of what there was to do in the day and half I was there.
I exhausted all possible shopping opportunities. Visited the Schiller and Goethe houses, then went to the Stadtschloss. I tried my best to get the panorama shot on my camera to work, but juggling an umbrella at the same time didn’t yield perfect results.
I wish I had pictures inside the Stadtschloss. The ballroom was to die for, as well as some of the artwork. Each room was lovlier than the one before it. , but it doesn’t do it justice at all.
I had visited Schloss Tegel in Berlin a few weeks before, and that was more of a summer home than a castle/Schloss.
I couldn’t believe that we were still in Berlin, this is a view of the Schloss from the graves/cemetary (if you are curious…click over through to my flickr)
Also, went to Wannsee. another…is this really Berlin?? place.
One of the most remarkable experiences I had in Berlin had to be going to see “Alice im Wunderland” at the Deutsches Theater.
My German teacher got us tickets for this. It was absolutely the most freaky thing ever. I’ve never seen Alice in Wonderland before…and only knew it as the Disney cartoon. THIS was not a Disney cartoon. It was horrifying, nightmare inducing, and just majorly creepy. I laughed straight through the first half of the play…I was so shocked. It started with a long haired blonde man in a furry, white vest stumbling down the aisle from the back of the theater, covered in fake blood and mumbling! Humpty Dumpty was a skinny guy wrapped up and taped in comforters!!!
I can’t link directly to the photos I found of this play, but if you are very curious, and possibly would like to have some trippy nightmares, and type in “alice im wunderland” in the search box.
Also in the performing arts catergory, I went to the Berlin Philharmonic twice. First time, was an Alpine symphonie and then something from Mozart. Alpine symphony was fantastic, Mozart was not as impressive, it had singers and it made me a little sleepy.
The building had very interesting architecture, and even though my seat was one of the absolute highest and furthest possible, the sound was incredible, and the view was perfect.
I went back to the Pergamon museum. I’ve been there before but definitely missed a massive portion of their collection. I’m really happy I gave it another chance and spent more time there. Although part of their collection was closed, there was still so much to see. They had a massive amount of Greek statues as part of their special exhibit.
Of course the Ishtar Gate remains as my favorite part of the museum, I loved their collection of Islamic art. Obviously…my camera’s battery died just as I got to the exhibit, but I managed to get a few photos in.
I also went to the Bode Museum. This museum had a very distinctive theme…old, religious art. I can only look at so much before it gets a little dull. (Stadtschloss in Weimar had a lot of works of the same theme and time period as well.) I enjoyed the building more than the artworks.
My favorite thing about this museum were the statues and other pieces that used bright colors! It was unexpected. If you’re looking at this set on flickr, there is even a statue of a man wearing bright green with acid yellow accents, that oversaturated my camera. This, though, has to be my favorite, I loved the coral orange.
I visited Volkspark Friedrichshain twice, it’s absolutely gorgeous!!! They have a giant fountain, MÃ¤rchen Brunnen, with statues based on the Grimm fairytales.
My favorite…Sleeping Beauty complete with kittens, puppies, and roses.
The park was pretty extensive, there was a great, fake lake and stream, complete with island and ducks.
It also bordered on Berlin’s first public hospital. (I know…so exciting right)
My absolute favorite part of the park was the flowers!! Again…camera died just as I got to them, so I had to make do with my phone. Honesty, I was pretty suprised how clear they came out!
It was so hard to keep the camera charged with only one outlet converter, I’d like to keep either my computer or cell charger on during the night, and in the morning I’d need it to dry my hair, and when I’d go out, I’d have to have the camera with me, so it never really got a full charge.
Moving on to the really fun parts of my 6 weeks…going out! Everyone was a lot of fun, and I clearly have not experienced the nightlife of Berlin on my last two visits.
Went to these…more than once, plus more I can’t find right now. Four day weekends were great. Sun sets after 9pm and rises somewhere around 4a. Went to a house party at an amazing apartment that had a massive statue of David. Went to hidden bars with cheap weak drinks and iffy music, gay bars with cheap shots and furniture sliding down the wall. Met people. Was on a floating dock at Visionare late at night, when some Swedish guys got a text and asked us if it was true Michael Jackson died. Drinking contests end badly and should not be hosted in one’s apartment. Also I am poker queen…I won all the peanuts and pretzels. The Weinerei = cheap drinking, free dinner, and more cheap wine. Tresor had a very, very scary, yet so awesome basement. Zapatas at Tacheles has things shooting fire into the air next to the dancefloor, and a crazy man who dances like he’s on a trip. I danced with him, he turned out to be an American…from NJ. weird. Beer in Germany is much cheaper than water and soft drinks, like pocket change cheap!!!
In terms of food, my favorite place was . I knew when I saw Anthony Bourdain visit when he was in Berlin, that it would be the most heavenly place ever. And it was, except somehow I kept ending up eating herring. I don’t even like herring that much, but every time I went in…I’d walk out with some. This place was right next to the university, so I got lunch a few times there and dinner before I left.
My favorite food was the simplest though, the mystery cheese sandwich from the bakery on the corner of the apartment complex. Just suspicious cheese, a little lettuce and a slice of tomato and cucumber. I’d take the cucumber and tomato off though. The cheese I assume was some sort of SchafskÃ¤se… but I may be wrong. It was a briney cheese, like a cross between mozzarella and some sort of feta. I loved it!
I did a decent amount of shopping. Found some awesome stores. Got souvenirs, including a giant Berlin Bear mug from Starbucks, a few of my favorite classic novels translated into German.
I was really sad to go home. I’d rather not discuss my flight home except that there was some massive embarrassment that involved a flying strawberry yogurt and it landing…not on me. I tried to sleep the whole flight to escape any further incidents.
I had such a great time. I’m really happy I had the chance to do this before I graduate. I am 1 German class, and 2 German electives away from a German minor…and it really kills me that I can’t stay in school longer to complete it…but I’m ready to graduate soonish and start working! My best friend and I are planning on doing a lot of traveling around Europe my first summer I have off. She went off to live in the UK yesterday actually…so I’m going to visit her at some point and go on from there. We’re really looking forward to it!!
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I am packed and somewhat ready to go.
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That’s all the time I have left, and part of my horoscope for today pretty much sums up everything:
Although you may be thinking about all the places you want to go and all the interesting people you want to see, you begin to run out of time as the weight of unfulfilled commitments overtakes your other thoughts.
I’m drowning in things I have to do for school and for my trip.
So far the only prep I’ve done was get a few new clothes, fix my broken digital camera (replaced the lcd) and order a .
I don’t even want to think about the things I have left to do. List making, shopping, homework, PACKING!!!!!!!! Dreading the packing. Do you think I’ll even get to sleep the night before I leave??? I don’t.
There is a blog for the trip, making it’s debut soon. I’m not going to jinx anything by posting there before I depart.
And I need to remember: TAKE PICTURES EVERYWHERE, because I always forget and am disappointed later on. Super excited I fixed my camera though, I bought an LCD off ebay that fits the camera and replaced it yesterday. I was so sad when that camera broke after New Orleans, and the replacement was a sad substitute for me. And this camera needed it’s turn to go to Berlin with me since it was bought with my left over spending money from last years trip.
BTW, it has been way too warm, I’m desperately looking forward to the next couple of days.
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