Not just a walk through the park …

CC thoughts

Today turned out completely different than I (or anyone else for that matter) expected.

No bike tour, a soccer game and a carnival later, and I’m tired! I’ll seriously be in need of a massage when I get home (hint, hint, Roberto).

I finally went to bed around 1 a.m. last night, listening to the Elizabethtown soundtrack on my iPod. I woke up around 8 a.m. … probably … I don’t have a clock, remember? But the gals in my room had an alarm set for 9 a.m. for us to get up and get ready, so I wasn’t too worried. Or was I? I kept waking up every 15 minutes or so from a dream I was having that we didn’t wake up to the alarm and woke up at noon, missing the bike tour. But we actually got up around 9:20 and got ready for the day, sad that it was raining. We didn’t want to worry about steering bikes and lugging camera equipment in the rain. We got ready anyway.

I walked downstairs, and Professor Freeman was there with about half of our group, eating breakfast. They have all kinds of toast, granola and yogurt and even had meat, cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes. He decided that we shouldn’t do the bike tour but visit the Annie Leibovitz exhibit instead, which we of course didn’t object to. A few of us went back upstairs to finish getting ready.

Which brings me to one of my fun observations. I’ve figured out why people have such good skin here … the wind that blows everyday just dries it up. The acne on my face was pretty much dried up, and I picked off the dry skin in the mirror. Gross, I know. It’ll probably all clear up just in time for me to leave.

And I’ll admit it, Mom. I really should have brought my tennis shoes. We’ve been walking a lot, and I’m really going to regret not bringing them when we do the bike tour on Tuesday. I’ll give you plenty of chances to say, “I told you so.”

As I looked in the mirror, I wondered what it would be like to do this trip as a UF student with friends here – or more like, what would it be like to do this trip with MEJ and UGA photo peeps? I was surprised that not everyone knew each other here, but photojournalism is a major at UF rather than an emphasis. At the same time, I don’t even know everyone in the emphasis at UGA. I did think of how much fun Frannie, Jim, Waites, Jake and I would have wandering around Berlin. Fun. And funny. Getting lost with them would be hilarious.

At any rate, I’m really getting to know everyone, and as expected, they’re all really nice and don’t hold too much against me for going to UGA. (Thanks, guys)

So then we headed to the Annie Leibovitz exhibit, and now I’ll start adding in photos for you. (Here is the building the exhibit was in. We couldn’t take any inside, but it was an excellent exhibit!) We stood in the line for quite awhile, which was good for conversation and observation. It seemed to be a touristy part of town – restaurant names started appearing in English and a sign near the exhibit promoted a “pub crawl,” which Chris told me the other day is a big joke in all large European cities that caters to tourists and basically is only used by tourists who want to get drunk and hook up. It’s not authentic at all, which makes sense. But the exhibit was wonderful … I’ll explain it in detail later to those who are particularly interested. She had some striking celebrity poses … the naked pregnant Vanity Fair cover of Demi Moore that she won an award for, Leonardo DiCaprio with a swan, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Kate Moss, and of course more serious ones like George W. Bush, Colin Powell and more. There are so many more, including some gigantic, gorgeous landscape photos. It was really inspiring.

When I left the building, nine others were outside, waiting. (Check out this picture … the dog is yawning. Yes, we were bored … and quite taken with the dog. Sorry also that these photos aren’t cropped or toned. I need to add the right photo editing software to my laptop. Sigh.) We stood outside for awhile but were getting impatient and hungry.

Freeman stayed behind to wait for the others and directed us where to go to get on the S-Bahn (think Marta, but cooler) to get to Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche, a church that was hit in 1945 during air raids. Another church is built beside it. It was interesting, seeing it surrounded by several food stands and touristy shops. I got an order of “pommes,” or fries. (From the little hut in the photo, on the right.) The prices were upped quited a bit, which made me think of Six Flags and tourists. (This isn’t the best photo I have of it, but I wanted to include one for the blog of the food stands next to it.)

We stopped to take pictures of street performers, which was fun. (Top photo: This guy was spinning on his head … pretty cool. Bottom photo: This guy was breakdancing. I thought this picture was pretty cool because it looks like he’s going to hit is face in about .5 seconds. He didn’t, of course.) I decided to play with movement today in my photos.

While on the S-Bahn, Vince talked about going to the Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC and FC Schalke. So we went! He and I took the S-Bahn out to Olympic Stadium and talked to a few guys who suggested that we scalp some tickets. So we did. It was amazing to be there – we could hear the cheers from way outside the stadium, which reminded me of Saturday gamedays in Athens in a way. The security people stopped me and patted me down, and the woman told her supervisor to come over. I don’t think I was allowed to take my camera in, but I think she gave up when I kept giving her a blank stare and said it was OK. Ha.

Vince and I found our seats, and two guys were standing at them. The one at Vince’s seat moved back a row, but the guy in mine didn’t. I tried to stand next to him (like we crowd the stands on gamedays), but people were actually sitting down in the fold out chairs, and I had no room. I asked the guy where his seat was, and he only spoke German. He said something angrily that seemed like “someone else is in my seat a few rows back” and ignored me. A few minutes later, I was getting increasingly annoyed and pointed at my ticket and told him to move. He yelled at me in German again, probably telling me he got there first. A guy next to Vince spoke English, and Vince said something to the guy, and he started arguing with the angry German in my way. From what I could decipher (I heard “dame,” which means female), the guy was telling the rude one to let me have my seat because I’m a girl and guys should be nice to ladies. He still wouldn’t move, so Vince and I traded spots, and Vince slowly edged him out, and he left. Ha! The guy who stuck up for me apologized for “rude Germans,” and I said it was fine. He was really nice for helping. He ended up being the funniest to watch during the game – he got so frustrated and yelled, reminding me of how intense Bobby gets during football games. I could tell he kept cussing because two little boys in front of me kept looking up at him, and the dads looked slightly annoyed. The guy even looked down and apologized at one point. It was really cute to see that. And the dads who brought their sons. And the groups of guy friends who would cheer, wave flags and toast beers. The chants were really loud, and I tried to catch on and clap with some of the cheers. The game ended 0-0 for the last home game for Hertha BSC, which made it awesome. The 72,000 seats were sold out! I’m so glad I went. I thought about going to a soccer game while in Berlin, but I didn’t think it would be possible. It was the best experience.

Vince and I took the S-Bahn back to the hotel and it was PACKED. There were so many people leaving from the match. I was squished between two couples, and may I politely observe that PDA here is a problem? Couples have no qualms about snogging in public, let me tell you. Anyway, that was fun.

We walked right into the lobby as the group was heading out to the carnival. We didn’t even take a breath and went out with them to Hermannplatz, which is near Kruezberg. We got off the subway in the same area I went the first day. It’s crazy how much more I know about Berlin and how much more comfortable I feel already.

The carnival was interesting. The rides were way too expensive – the cheapest was 2 euro – so I bought one corn on the cob and cotton candy (see the photo? Corn was popular in our group. Om nom nom.)

I just wandered around and took pictures. The typical stop, pan, blur types, but still fun to do at a carnival anyway. The best/most interesting part is that most of the rides played popular English songs, so I heard “Poker Face” and Pussycat Dolls. I wish I had written down the others, that would have been fun. There were several popular rap songs and even a band that sang English oldies. They smiled at me when I took a picture. Too funny. When we were coming back on the tram, a guy was listening to “Kiss Me Through the Phone” on his iPod. Nice. I’m stuck between America and Germany. Now I’m back here, trying to type this up and thinking about tomorrow’s walking tour. I need a shower and some good sleep. I hope you enjoyed!



3 thoughts on “Not just a walk through the park …

  1. Nice blog! Feel like I wont need to go to Berlin this summer anymore:) Fun to get the “American” perspective. Cool u tried the couch surfing thing (btw, was it me who gave u the idea last year? If so, I should apologize to your mum..;)) good u reminded me of it, might be smthng for my back packing trip..Talked to Ching today and she told me u be there for 2 weeks, so no time to meet:( But I’ll keep readin!

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