Around the Area…

May 30, 2008

I took a few pictures today when I was out running around.  So here is what Pankow looks like, the neighborhood I am shackin up in.

          

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Last night was a memorable experience.  It started out simple, I hopped on the train to meet Adrian, then we were going out with some of his friends in Mitte, a young hip part of Germany.  Adrian is a furniture designer and his wife is an American that just left the residency.  So we meet up with his other friends at a bar which has the beers on the wall like a stock market.  The beer prices go up and down depending on who is buying what.  We ordered some beers and a currywurst.  Then later the stock market crashed and we ordered a meter of beer.  It is this beer from Cologne that you must drink cold so they bring them out in small glasses on a wooden tray that is one meter long.  The beer was good.  Then Adrian and I set out on an adventure of our own.  I will post pictures later of these special places when I return to them but unfortunately last night I didn’t have my camera.  We went to Brandenburger Gate, The Russian War Memorial, The Jewish Memorial, and The Sony Center.  Now it was late at night so all of these monuments had a much more stunning look.  The Jewish Memorial is for all of the Jews killed in Germany during the war.  It is an acre or so of cast concrete, about tomb size.  The amazing thing is as you walk into it, the tombs like pillars get progressively larger.  Soon you are in a series of caverns.  So, So incredible.  The pictures will help.  Then Adrian and I walked on them.  They are about a yard or so apart so you can jump from one to the other.  Finally I made it to the center and was probably twenty or twenty five feet off the ground.  Adrian said you can’t walk on them during the day but he has seen others doing it at night.  All of these experiences there are constant reminders of the history of Berlin.  You see a piece of the Berlin wall, or a line of bricks that are paved in a different color to represent the wall that was once there.  Old Buildings are incorporated into new ones under glass to preserve it.  All of the memorials….. Quite an experience last night.

I have been taking the train around to a few different parts of Berlin the last couple of days.  I went to the ceramic shop to get my materials and I went to an architectural design store called Modular.  In most of these adventures there is not much to talk about, I wonder around, jump on the train ride until my next stop and get out and ride again.  I am getting more comfortable on the train, not stressing ever second wondering if the next stop is mine.  But in all of this the city seems quit in a way, I walk to and from places referring to my map from time to time and just observing.  I do not understand people’s conversations so it is just the thoughts within my own head.  People for the most part on the streets keep to themselves.  They don’t smile or make much eye contact but from time to time I wonder if people are trying to talk to me but I just don’t understand.  I seem to go on and on about this language barrier but it does effect my daily experiences.  I bought a few toy animals yesterday that I like, so I think I am going to start with a series of giraffes.  After all they are the tallest mammals on earth!!

Charlottenburg Palace

May 25, 2008

I went to this palace today.  The interior is a complete knock out however they do not allow you to take photos of it.   Each room is sooo elaborate with mirrors, art, moldings of all shapes and size, wallpaper, gold trim.  The best part for me was the porcelain room.  I nearly wet my pants in it.  Many of the other rooms were just as nice.  I am going to the zoo and aquarium tomorrow.  I hear there aquarium is very good.

    

 

 


So I woke up today at five in the afternoon.  I couldn’t go to sleep last night and I stayed up until six in the morning.  I am not sure if that is jet lag or just too much coffee however I hit the local neighborhood today to check it out.  I found a coffee shop and had an expresso and asked the owner if he knew of a good place to eat for cheap.  He pointed to a place just up the street.  I wondered up toward it listening to my black boots on the cobblestone sidewalk.  I found the Turkish place however I had no idea what  to order and the guy at the counter didn’t know any English however there was a kid my age sitting and drinking a beer how helped translate and I got a dynamite pita sandwich and a beer for 3.5 Euro.  Good deal.  Then I wondered around some other parts of the neighborhood for a while but I didn’t get lost, got a little exercise, and figured out my new black boots are quite comfortable.  Not bad.

Berlin…I made it!!

May 23, 2008

I arrived in Berlin a few days ago.  It is a bit odd to think I will be here for the next ten weeks.  My assumption that people speak English here was kind of wrong.  The people speak English but only when they figure out you do.  I walk down the street and hear every language but English.  The food is all written in German, the signs, the advertisements, the dinner menus, the beer labels, and pretty much anything and everything else I have found so far.  I guess this might be a case of a mild culture shock or maybe just an unexpected realization of my own ignorance.  English is a second language, ha, who would have thought?  However, all things considered I am settling in, taking a few changes with some odd cheeses and salami, and finding my way around the neighborhood.  I am in Pankow which is a neighborhood in Eastern Berlin.  I am living and working at the Zentrum Fur Keramik, translated the Ceramic Center.  Here is a few pictures of my new home for the next couple of months.

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