University of Washington

Summer A Term 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Daily Diary - June 22 & 23

Our first weekend in Berlin has truly been a blast! With a few of us arriving Thursday, most on Friday, and a few stragglers (you know who you are!) on Saturday, we were happy to have the time to settle in and explore.

Saturday began with what would become the daily 9AM group breakfast in the front cafe, conveniently equipped with "to-go" sized items that we definitely took advantage of (preparing snacks for later)! Most of the day was then spent exploring the gay pride activities at the Christopher Street Day Parade and fighting the dregs of jetlag. Unfortunately, my addiction to napping kept me from enjoying the day's activities - but I'm sure all of you had a wonderful time. Here's a link if you want a look back!

Saturday evening, we had the opportunity to meet the lovely Manuela for a tour of Kreuzberg and Treptower in Die Fabrik's vicinity. We explored an old Wall watchtower and posed for photos by the "Molecule Man." A walk down the promenade along the river led us ultimately to the World War II Soviet Memorial, created in commemoration of the millions of Russian soldiers who perished during the war. My favorite part of this tour was perhaps Manuela's stories about where she was in 1989 when the wall came down, and how the atmosphere of Berlin was full of excitement and vigor. She highlighted the important of visible and invisible memory, and how memory is created and recreated through narratives.

After our 9AM group breakfast on Sunday, most of the group traveled to Mauerpark for some flea market bargains. I walked around the stalls and perused everything from books to jewelry to clothes to old car parts...My only purchase was a beleaguered cell phone and charger in an act of optimism. (The Samsung phone I ended up buying at Saturn the following day proved much more reliable.) We had the opportunity to take the U-bahn/S-bahn and Metro Streetcar on the way there and back.

Dinner at Baraka Arabic Restaurant was just a short walk away from the hostel and was a great opportunity for us to come together for a group meal. As I am by no means a food connoisseur  I will describe the food we had as a delicious offering of spiced meats, rice, falafel and pastes - topped off with what tasted like the best bread in the world!

We wrapped up the night with a leisurely walk home to some light reading in preparation for the Palace of Tears and a refreshing German drink of choice.

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