I’ll leave you all with a few observations from today – Hopefully I’ll be inspired enough to do this everyday.
Today’s main observation is confirmation of my whole reason for being here: Berlin is quite the international city. Obviously, I believe this enough to base my senior Scholars project on it, but I’ve already gotten some examples that help back up that thesis and are encouraging for what is to come in the next two weeks.
After my last post an hour or two ago, I left the hotel to look for a place to eat. The hotel desk staff suggested I stay away from the Kurfürstendamm (one of West Berlin’s main streets, and just a few feet from my hotel) but rather to check out the Pariserstrasse which is a couple streets south of the hotel. They obviously knew what they were talking about, and within a few minutes I had walked by two sushi restaurants, an Italian pizza place, two or three typical “German” pubs and a Mexican (Hispanic) restaurant. The diversity, like I said, just points to the modern, international nature of Berlin that I will looking for and documenting all week.
(Side note: One thing you should understand about German restaurants – most are outdoor cafes that double as bars because they all have large selections of alcoholic options. Most Germans eat large breakfasts and make lunch the main course of the day, so in the evening they get together with friends at one of these outdoor cafes for drinks and appetizers until late. Also, I decided to eat at the Mexican place – Poco Loco – and had a burrito which might have been slightly more expensive that it was worth. But at least now I’m settled in, clean and full. Now I just need to go to bed.)
See you all in the morning.
I’m here! It took long enough and I’m quite tired/hungry, but I’m now in my hotel room (very nice) and I’ve talked to Karen for a while, unloaded my stuff, and taken a shower. Now I’m going to go find a bite to eat somewhere around here.
Getting here was interesting: the bus that I thought would take me very near my hotel was nowhere to be seen outside the airport, so after I bought a 7-day travel card I hopped on one of the other buses and planned my way to the hotel using the subway. It was going well until I got off the first subway and learned that the subway line (U1) is closed for construction until October. So that put me a few blocks more than I planned away from Hotel Bogota, but I walked the six or seven blocks from the subway (called the U-bahn) to the hotel.
I’ve only taken a few pictures of my room so far, so I’ll try to get them up soon for everyone to see.
I think I’ll be sleeping in late in the morning, but I need to find out when breakfast is served so I can eat that meal for free everyday. It’s a good thing that something is free – as it turns out, the Internet is not free. It costs 13 euros per day, which as you all know, I will cough up to stay connected with the world.
Talk to you all later!
So far, so good on the travels to Berlin. I am now at the Amsterdam Airport, exhausted and hungry, but I’m just fine otherwise.
Checking in at Memphis was simple enough, and after the family and I ate supper, I went through security and walked to the terminal (at the end of airport, no less.) Fortunately, they were already boarding, so I stood in line and then got on the plane. Not waiting around was pretty nice.
The flight was good despite my inability to fall asleep. Northwest Airlines has improved their overseas planes; they are now using Airbus A330s which have a much better entertainment system (built into the back of the seat in front of you with myriad movie choices.) I watched “21” and nibbled at the provided dinner (not so good) before attempting to fall asleep. I mostly spent the evening with my eyes closed, wishing myself to sleep, struggling with the seat to find a comfortable position (I had some bad lower back pain which was finally solved by putting the provided pillow behind it) and watching both the flight map and information on my screen. We had significant tail wind at 38000+ feet, upwards of 100 mph most of the way here, so we arrived in Amsterdam early.
There were a few interesting moments: there were several children on board, and at least three of them had tantrums sometime while we were in flight. Also, around half way through the flight we were awakened by the stewardesses asking over the intercom if there were any nurses or doctors on board. A man fell (passed out) in the aisle just behind my row of seats. It wasn’t all that entertaining, but it was interesting to note that there were at least 4 doctors and a med school student on board. I had just started to fall asleep at that point, too.
My flight to Berlin doesn’t leave for another 3 hours, and my 6 Euro/30 minuted internet is going to run out soonish, so I’ll update you again when I arrive at my hotel.
So much for updating more than once.
Things got busy, we had fun, I didn’t want to update the blog. So there.
The UK visit was a little lack-luster. The Geography Department was less than helpful as far as having information available (they pointed me to their Web site) and the Office of Graduate Studies was closed for a two-hour meeting while we were there. But driving around Lexington was fun, and useful for getting a feel for the town.
Today we drove back after stopping at Lexington Greens at some kind of cool grocery store (similar to World Market, I think? You know, the kind that Karen goes ga-ga over…) and a bookstore, where I promptly spent 40 bucks on a primer book on architectural styles, a Berlin-specific moleskine and a copy of The Iliad for $3.50.
Now we are at home, and we were hit by a couple small showers as we unloaded, so Karen and I decided to stay at the house until it quits raining. Mom also mentioned the words “pizza” and “supper” so we’re sticking around supper.
I uploaded a few more photos to Flickr, but the shots from UK and Lexington are on my camera in the car.