Oktoberfest 2013

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Everyone should do it once.

One day is enough.

I took a bus from Berlin to Munich for the first weekend of Oktoberfest, which actually started September 21st. The night before, I met a vampire from Romania who bedazzled us with card tricks. Dawned in my dirndl, I awoke bright and early to catch the train into the festival, where we waited in a crowd outside the Armbrustschützenzelt tent for a bit before being one of the first waves allowed in. We secured a few tables and waited til noon.

My first liter of beer came right out of the first-tapped barrel of Oktoberfest 2013. The rest is history.

A word of wisdom: EAT. Eat as much as you can, so you may continue to drink coherently. ;]

Random Wedding Graffiti “tour”

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As part of a German class, we all hiked up to Wedding to “tour” some “legal” “graffiti.” (Like, five. Nur funf!!~)

In the cold and wet.

After my own personal exciting urban exploration, this was sort of a drag, whether it beat the classroom or not is still in debate.

Urban Exploring – in da näher von Warschauer Straße

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^The courteous sign alerting us the mirrored building was under video surveillance.

As the sun began it’s ascent and slow close of yet another Berlin evening, Connor and I climbed in.

Sachsenhausen — Concentration Camp

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Schlachtensee – Circle of Dreams

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One stop down from Mexikoplatz. There was always something surreal about coming to this place.

As far from one shore as the other, naked, cold and alive, the feeling that the water and all it’s outlier loneliness might vanish, as if Berlin decided a blue-green gem so close couldn’t be abided by, hung, treading water with me.

Mutter Courage und Ihre Kinder

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I heard Mutter Courage und Ihre Kinder von Bertolt Brecht was playing at the Berliner Ensemble. I got a ticket for 10 Euro, and it was one of the best productions I’ve ever seen.

Brecht holds a specific influence in the direction I’ve taken. I first heard of him in a theatre history class at my high school, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. We learned of epic theatre, and it’s combination of media and theatrical elements. As a storyteller in the 21st century, the increasing significance of technology in communicating ideas was apparent. In middle school, cell phones had just started becoming a thing, by junior year at DA, everyone had one.

I decided to major in journalism at the University of Florida, expanding my skill repertoire to include media. I took German classes, a two-week photojournalism course in Berlin and now, I’ve been living in Germany for six months. Alles ist ein bisschen verrückt (in einem Guten Weg, natürlich).

The show was intense.

I met up with some friends after the show, and Matt and I found lifeguard stands on the sidewalk. Not totally sure what their deal was, but they were fun for a few minutes and we befriended some Polish guys walking by with whom to continue the night’s adventure.

My first Fußball match!

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My first fußball match! Woohoo! Hertha Berlin vs Mainz. 3-1.

Another stop in at the Olympic Stadium, erected in the Nazi era (Hitler had all the anti-Jew propaganda taken down/covered up just for the occasion).

The Wall Lives

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I took a train from Mannheim the Saturday before the Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Program began. My host ma picked me up from the station. She told me she had a daughter my age studying abroad in France – she was also a redhead, and I’d be staying in her room. Once I got my luggage up the stairs, all seemed well, until we came to the living room. She said I couldn’t sit on the couches — I laughed, I thought it was a joke… it is different here.

The first day at Brentanostraße 50, I met Matt. He lived just one stop down from me on the S1, at Mexikoplatz. I heard Roger Waters’ the Wall tour was coming to Berlin. (I mean, the Wall!! In Berlin!! Come on.) No one else at the Mensa seemed as keen on it. Matt and I got our tickets and two weeks later were on the U2 headed out toward Olympiastadion.

The show began in a blaze of fire. Our seats were high enough up that we couldn’t distinguish the shadows on Roger Waters’ face, but technology helped out. A wall of screens behind him illuminated him and media messages, in German and English.

A swirl of dark sounds and entangled memories ensued.

Berlin, Again

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The last time I came to Berlin was a year and some months before, but it seemed a very distant, vibrant memory. It was for a photojournalism course, and the first time I decided Berlin was my favorite city (mein Lieblingstadt). It was a brief stay and I had no idea what was in store.

This time was different. I knew more German. I had a handle on the public transport. But the people were different. There were more of them, and everyone’s uncle was somebody. A network of people who want to move the world.

As an introduction to the city and it’s history, we went to the Soviet war memorial and military cemetery in Treptower Park. We took a boat tour down the Spree. We had a welcome dinner at the Botanischer Garden with our host families. That was the night I met Megan, the only other redhead in the program, which was apparently enough to confuse us till the very end. I went with her to a doom metal show, Obelyskkh, and met some German friends, with whom I proceeded to travel from bar to bar with until dawn, when I finally caught the S1 back to my host stay in Zehlendorf. A true Berlin experience.  

Nach Wien, und Preserved Luxury

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The train to Vienna was about 7 hours. Kind of a long trip for a weekend break from classes…but one full day and a half is quite enough to eye-binge on the treats and treasures tucked within the museums’ walls.