Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Berlin and Jena

I have been taking my time updating this thing, so I have not one weekend adventure to tell you about today but two. We will start with the weekend before last, during which I had planned to visit Dresden but due to the inability to find a room I found myself taking a day trip to Berlin instead.

I had an absolutely wonderful time - I really do love Berlin. This time I did an Alternative Berlin tour, which is the kind of tour that looks at cultural icons, street art, and things popular among the locals rather than going to monuments. I enjoyed it immensely - I liked seeing another side to Berlin and feeling like I got to know it a bit more. We saw all kinds of really cool street art, and some buildings that had been taken over by artists (featuring some really cool art), some bars (although they weren't super busy because it was midday, it was more like 'you should come here later'), and a lot of other cool things. There was also a protest that was going on that day that they took us to at the end - I think they were protesting gentrification, but the actual act was squatting an old airport. However, at the time I had to leave to catch my train back to Cottbus they had not yet successfully gotten into the airport, so I am afraid I cannot tell you how the story ended. It felt like most of the people there were more spectators than anything else - it was a very laid back protest. But anyway, as I said, I had an absolutely lovely day in Berlin, and before I left I even managed to snap some shots of a few important touristy things. All the pictures from the day can be found on my facebook - I will post the link (which works for non-facebook users also) after I put them up.

Then just this past weekend I went to go visit my cousin Dolores in Jena! I had a great time. Jena is really cute - it is kind of like Cottbus but significantly bigger and surrounded by mountains (or at least hills). For dinner we all climbed up one of them to a restaurant. It was very very foggy, or else I've been told the view would have been lovely. What I could see was very nice though, and dinner was good. I also enjoyed hot chocolate at a cute cafe thing with Dolores in the afternoon, and after dinner we went to an ice cream shop and I FINALLY got a massive ice cream sundae like I have wanted since I got here (pictured on my facebook). It was GREAT. Then on Sunday, Dolores and Michael were having a little birthday party for David's first birthday (!!), so in the morning I helped (er...watched) Dolores prepare for that, and then a bunch of people came, and it was very good fun meeting everyone. I liked it especially because when people speak German to babies it is usually very simple and I can kind of understand. I also liked it because Dolores made a delicious cake. I felt like I had to leave Jena too soon - I had a lot of fun getting to know David for the first time and seeing Dolores and Michael again!

So as you may or may not know I am actually leaving Germany two weeks from tomorrow (Thursday) - good heavens that was quick! In between now and then, I will be spending a weekend in Dresden and 4 days in Heidelberg for a conference for my scholarship. I will update about those things as they come along - I am especially looking forward to the conference. Until then friends, ciaociao! Look at my pictures!

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