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.  

Berlin 2012 … the book!

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The book that holds proof of all the hard work we put in during our two weeks in Berlin is available in print, as well as on the internet for anyone interested to see.

Just click on the picture, and the link will take you to a place where you can read about all the interesting people we were so privileged to meet, speak with and take photos of during our wunderbar time in Berlin.

Berlin Project, Click the Pic!

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Berlin, its been great

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We arrived at Berlin Hbf just half an hour before the ‘tourist info’ place closed for the day, which was convenient because we didn’t exactly know where we were going. We knew the hostel was in Kreuzberg, somewhere, and we knew the address. All we had to do was find Spreewaldplatz…

An U-bahn(/S-bahn/tram) map was helpful though, we got exactly where we needed to be and found our hostel much easier than locating the one in Amsterdam, plus in the dark.

The room we’re in this time is much bigger than the Amsterdam hostel as well, and only has six other people we don’t know sleeping in there with us, rather than eight. Woohoo! It’s got a great location though, and cheap beer compared to everywhere else we’ve been(not compared to the rest of Berlin though).

The hostel isn’t far from the Tempodrom, either, where Jack White played Tuesday night. Bailey just picked up her ticket when we stopped in London last, we were a bit worried, as I had had mine sent to Switzerland, but Bailey’s didn’t come by the time we set off for Paris… but alas, we got both tickets, made it in time, drank over-priced beer, and observed how hippie-ish the opening band First-Aid Kit appeared even though they’re from Sweden…)

Jack White played with his all-male band for this show(he decides at breakfast whether it’ll be the girls or boys that night…)songs off his new album, of course, like “Love Interruption,” “Missing Pieces,” “Sixteen Saltiness”, and “Trash Tongue Talker”(which Jack said was like his ‘Thriller’) but he also played The Dead Weather’s “I Cut Like a Buffalo”, and Racontuers’ “Steady As She Goes”. White Stripes’ “We’re Going to Be Friends”(a real hit) and even “Seven Nation Army” at the end there, which I was really not expecting and I don’t think he still plays it in America these days.

We were already standing pretty close, but something like a mosh started at one point, and I was forced into the line of people behind the ones clinging like glue to the railing in the front of the stage. It was a pretty swell deal.

What a finale to a journey like this, I was singing and skipping all the way back to the U-bahn, and even then.

We awoke today, and went the Lidl to buy muesli, yogurt, and milk. We had the best breakfast ever yesterday morning right next to the hostel, but we’re about out of Euro, so it was back to the supermarket.

It was raining, and a little chilly, so we ran to the East Side Gallery so Bailey could at least see the Berlin Wall while she’s here. “Us running in the rain along the wall symbolizes our whole trip,” Bailey said. I don’t know exactly what she meant by that, but we both started running a little faster.

We hadn’t wanted to spend more Euro, but the Chicken House is literally right around the corner from the hostel, so we had to have a last ½ chicken and chips before the final packing began.

Alarm’s set, bags nearly packed now.

All that remains is my sheer terror of the Frankfurt airport, my personal purgatory—Will I find my gate in the limited 90 minutes I have to transfer? Navigate my way through those ups and downs, links und rechts, miles of maze in –only- an hour and a half?

Outlook not-so-good, anxiety settles in.



I learned that bars in Italy have both coffee and alcohol. The toilet flushers and light switches are different in Europe. The converters are different in Ireland and the UK than in Germany and France, and everyone speaks English but its cooler if you speak something else, too.


I’m going to miss public transportation, and constant change and motion forward. The quick pace I’ll keep close. And I’ll not let the American summer burn my skin too red of what I’ve come to appreciate in the pale of Europe.

I miss Berlin

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No, I’ve been having a great time catching trains and traveling to a city I’ve never been to every three days. But still, there’s something about Berlin that isn’t anywhere else. Maybe its something to do with the efficiency…East/West differences, the artistic attraction or the history the city holds. I don’t know, a “gestalt”, if you will.


Anyway, here’s a link to the final project from my two weeks there: