Beautiful Berlin

January 16th, 2011

Wow, it’s a little bit late to be writing about Berlin, but better late than never, as clichéd as that sounds.  I’m mean, I’m writing this post from  my dorm room in Wooster.  Classes start tomorrow!  It has been so great seeing everyone!  I’ve really missed my friends at Wooster, and it has been so nice catching up with everyone.

So, Berlin…well, it’s a totally cool city with a very dynamic history.  I took a night train from Vienna to Berlin.  I met a very nice Viennese girl and we had breakfast together at the train station the next morning.  I also got up close and personal with some Russians in the train compartment.  There wasn’t a lot of leg room, and I woke up at 2am with one of their bare feet on my lap.  Fun times, but after they got of the train in Prague, I had a whole six hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep sprawled across three train seats.

Getting to my hostel from the train station was pretty straightforward.  I took the M41 bus to Willy Brandt Haus, walked across a river, turned right until I came to Grand Hostel Berlin.  It was a beautiful old building.  It had a very formal and proper feel to it, and I could tell that I probably wouldn’t be meeting a whole lot of people in the evenings, which was fine because I was meeting another fellow Wooster classmate later.  Since my room wasn’t exactly ready for me when I checked in that morning, I stowed my luggage and headed for the Brandenburg Gates where they give free walking tours around the city.

The walking tour was great.  I had a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide.  We walked all over the city, and saw so much stuff.  Hitler’s secret underground bunker (now a parking lot) was on the tour as well as the Berlin Dome, and the Berlin Wall.  Most of the wall is gone, but there’s a cobblestone line that runs where the wall used to stand.  It’s really interesting to walk around the city and see the line going through the sidewalk or street.  Twenty years ago, there would have been a very real, neigh uncrossable barrier, and now you can move freely about the city.  It was bitter cold, so I was slightly relieved when the tour ended and I could hope on a train that could take me back to my hostel.

When I got back, I lugged my suitcase up to the fourth floor, and opened my room door to find a girl fast asleep in one of the beds.  Positive all the noise I was making would wake her, I hurriedly unpacked my stuff and went to shower.  The showers were a little bit annoying because they were motion activated, so they didn’t start until you stepped in the shower, and they would turn off in the middle, and you would have to jump around to get the water to turn back on.  When I returned, my roommate was up and we got to talking.  She was from New Zealand and was currently in the process of changing her major basically.  We sat down for dinner and actually wound up talking about Greek life in American universities, because New Zealand doesn’t have anything like it, and it fascinates them.  While we were talking my friend from Wooster arrived.  It was great to see her!  She was studying in Oxford, England for the entire year, so this was the only time I would get to see her before I went back to the states for a second semester.

The next day we all headed to museum island, a literal island in the middle of the city, with five museums built on it.  We got a pass to all five museums for 7 Euro (student price).  We made it to four.  It was so neat, we got to see architecture from all over the ancient world.  I saw Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Islamic, European, and Stone Age artifacts.  I even got to see the bust of Nefertiti, which was beautiful.  Unfortunately I have no pictures because cameras were strictly verboten in the room where the bust was kept, like when you go to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.  All in all, a very cool day.  I was a bit museum-ed out, but who wouldn’t be after running around four large museums. 🙂  It was sad to leave Berlin the next day.  Not only was I not going to see my friend for another semester, but I would be returning to the USA in a matter of days.  In fact, when I got back to Stuttgart, I only had one day to pack before flying back to the USA.  Crazy.  My overseas adventure was drawing quickly to a close and it was sad.  My depression was mitigated by the fact that in my heart, I knew I would be back.  I am definitely going back to Morocco, I mean, I haven’t seen Marrakesh or Casablanca yet!  Travel to Europe is almost guaranteed as well since I have family there.  I was excited to see all my friends and family whom I haven’t seen in months.  That’s the one good thing about leaving.  I get to see the people I love and care about again.  I get to hear their stories, and share my own.  I get to laugh with them, cry with them, go see movies and concerts and study until 2am with them.  I’m ready for another semester at Wooster.  I’ll have my experiences to fall back on when the going gets tough, but because of my experiences in Morocco, I know I can handle the obstacles I will face back here in good ol’ Wooster.

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