And so it begins…

•May 15, 2009 • 1 Comment
So, after an eventful journey through the streets of Berlin, we finally arrived to our hotel. We took the bus for 45 minutes and then a tram, and then some more walking… all with a backpack, purse, and two suitcases. Could I look any more like an American tourist? But, Berliners are quite tolerant, and unlike Americans, keep their opinions to themselves when they do disapprove of obnoxious tourists.
Here we are finally arriving at our hotel after what seemed like a rather long journey.

Here we are finally arriving at our hotel after what seemed like a rather long journey.

My room is very nice, and it reminds me of a small apartment of some sort. We are on the top floor (5th floor) and our windows are actually sky lights. When I look out the window from my height (yes, I know) I can see the beautiful blue Berlin sky.

There are five of us to a room, and I am enjoying every minute of it. We decided to trek outside before dinner so I and a few others could exchange our money for Euros. I then grabbed my first authentic Bratwurst and we sat down by the Friendship Fountain to eat.

Our first meal together at the Friendship Fountain in Alexanderplatz.

My first Bratwurst at the Friendship Fountain in Alexanderplatz.

After returning to the hotel for a short bit, we headed out to see a memorial of a part of the Berlin Wall where people used to jump out of buildings to escape East Berlin. Starting there, I began to take lots, and lots, and lots of pictures. We ate at the Prater Biergarten, and I had some sort of soup and corn on the cob. It was delicious. I also ordered some Stilles Wasser (water without carbonation, which the Europeans seem to love) and a glass of white wine. I know!! I didn’t get German Beer! I figured there’s time for that later. Plus, I was so tired, I just wanted to get back to the hotel and sleep, and I wasn’t really in the mood for beer festivities. But, once again, we walked back to the hotel and I took lots more pictures.

I am hoping to upload them and post at least some of them along with more that I will take during our four hour bike tour tomorrow. I will include a link to the rest of them as well. I am just glad my internet is working so I can at least post on my blog and use Skype. But as much as I want to continue describing my first day in Berlin, I must retire to my room, for I am beyond exhausted. This will be my first real sleep since Wednesday night.

So farewell all, enjoy your afternoon while I sleep here in Berlin. I look forward to sharing some more amazing stories about our bike tour tomorrow…and hopefully some short video footage if it is not raining!

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Flughafen Tegel. Ah, Ankunft.

•May 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Tegel Airport. Ah,  finally.

After flying over the Atlantic Ocean, Dublin, Manchester and Amsterdam, watching Inkheart on a mini TV, and listening to my never-ending Iron Maiden complete discography, I am finally in Berlin. For one with high anxiety and an extreme dislike for airplanes, I feel I fared rather well. I couldn’t get much sleep – the chairs were impossibly uncomfortable – but still I am ready for the long and exciting day ahead of me.

I was shocked by how impressive the Newark airport was, and I didn’t mind the waiting time until my next flight since I got to do some serious reading. As if I don’t wave my freak flag enough, I gladly got lost in one of my Star Trek Voyager novels that I brought along for comfort reading.

As I flew into the Newark airport, I had a wondow seat and got a chance to see a bird’s eye view of New Jersey. I couldn’t help but notice how cluttered the city looked from above. The land almost seemed choked by all of the development, and the water was so still – almost lifeless.

This was in stark contrast to the beautiful untamed land that I saw as I descended upon Berlin. There were trees in massive patches, and it seemed there was a balance between the undeveloped land and the blotches of buildings and houses. Although I felt exhausted after the long plane ride, I got my second wind as I saw the quaint structures spotting the land – my favorite being a cluster of buildings in pastel colors like green, yellow, pink and blue. There were modern buildings, and ones that belonged in a history textbook. The crazy contrast of the city intrigued me as we flew into Tegel airport, and I knew there wouldn’t be enough time to capture in pictures all of the images I wish to share with you all.

But, seeing as I am on a photojournalism study abroad trip, I will do my best to document the amazing people and places I will see in Berlin, and try to update my story as much as possible. But for now I must go, so I can get to the hotel to drop off my luggage and take a breather…

Eine friedliche Welt ist möglich.

•May 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A peaceful world is possible.

Berlin, once a city divided by ideas, politics and a concrete wall, is now a bustling international icon that has shown the world that peace is possible…even after 28 years of tension and heartbreak.