Luckily the temperature has gone down a bit in the past few days here in Berlin, but unluckily, the humidity has not. It is honestly awful how humid it is here. No matter how little I move during the day, I am still so sticky by 11:00am. Hopefully the rain this week will help with that.
On Monday, I started my day like every other day – getting ready, eating Müsli, drinking coffee, and then heading to the train station to catch the 7:59 train from Onkel Toms Hütte to Friedrichstraße. I finished the book I was reading (the German translation of Me Before You), so I bought the second book in the series and began reading that this morning on the U-Bahn. Even though it’s a rather long commute for me to get from my home to Humboldt, I’ve grown to enjoy the peacefulness of my morning U-Bahn ride (minus the sound of metal scraping on metal whenever the U-Bahn turns). It’s 45 minutes where I can tune out the world and fall into the world of my book.
I had Unterricht in the morning, and due to the humidity, I felt like I was slowly being cooked inside my classroom. My professor has some aversion to allowing the classroom door to be open to allow for air flow, and I haven’t yet figured out if that’s a German things or if he’s just a bit odd. We do have one small oscillating fan, which is thankfully located in my corner of the room, so I do get a slight breeze as the fan turns.
After Unterricht, I went with my friends to a cute cafe for lunch. None of us had a Nachmittagsprogram, so we took our time eating. When we were done, we decided to go to the Tiergarten, which is a 520-acre park right in the heart of Berlin. There are at least 2 separate Biergartens within the Tiergarten, and those are just the ones we walked past. We stopped at one of them to grab a drink and (try to) cool down. It was quite overpriced there, but we had a good time chatting and hanging out.
We left the Biergarten to find some ice cream, and on our way to get it, we made a pit stop at the Siegessäule (Berlin Victory Column). We had to go through an underground tunnel that smelled like pee to get to the center of the roundabout where the column is located.
As we left the Siegessäule, we heard the beginnings of a thunderstorm. We picked up the pace a bit, careful to stay out of the way of the bikers. Right as we were about to leave the Tiergarten, the rain started to fall. We raced to the closest shelter, which happened to be the Brandenburger Tor.
We stood underneath it for about 25 minutes until the rain lightened up, at which point we raced to the nearest U-Bahn entrance. We took the U-Bahn back to Friedrichstraße, where we finally got some ice cream. After ice cream, we all headed home.
Today (Tuesday) was not as hot as it was yesterday, but I swear the humidty was higher. It was actually slightly chilly this morning, so I wore a sweater on my walk to the Bahnhof. During Unterricht, we did mini-presentations on the different energy sources our countries use, and it was quite interesting to see how certain countries used energy. For example, Italy has a relatively high percentage of their energy coming from water energy because they built what are essentially turbines and put them in the rivers, where they gather energy from the current pushing the turbines.
I did have a Nachmittagsprogram today, and that was a trip to the Holzmarkt Projekt (direct translation: wood market project). This is a huge project that was pioneered by an eclectic group of people some years ago with the goal of preserving and growing culture in Berlin. With all the reconstruction and rennovation after the Mauerfall (fall of the Wall), there was a lack of culture, so this project was made to remedy that. We learned so much during our tour that I can’t put it all into words, so here’s a link to the Holzmarkt Projekt website: https://www.holzmarkt.com/. The food sold in the restaurants is all locally grown and bio (organic), and the beer is made in their own brewery. The goal of this project was never and still is not to make money. The goal is to have a space where artists of all forms can come and work, while also being an open place for the people of Berlin.
I really hope I can make a trip back to the Holzmarkt because it was so interesting and inviting. Coming up this week, I have a Stadtralley, which is essentially a big treasure hunt in a neighborhood in Berlin, and a movie night with the API group.