Friday, June 03, 2011

Getting an Overview

When I realized the curtains in my room were sheer, I went out and bought an eye mask at the pharmacy at Zoo Station, near the hotel. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I slept ok. The area around the hotel is a little noisy, but my ear plugs filtered most of it out. Some of the students were not as lucky and told me about partiers they heard on the street. I did hear the beer bottle break around 7:30, though.

Feeling rested after a good 8.5 hours of sleep, I made breakfast (scrambled eggs, yoghurt, rolls with butter, tea with milk and sugar, and black currant juice), I went downstairs at 9:30 am to meet the students. I figured that they would definitely benefit from sleeping in.

Our first stop was the Topography of Terror museum. This is one of the places I`ve not been before. The last time I was there, it was just a series of open-air display cases, but the new museum opened a year ago. They do a good job of explaining how the SS worked in the complicated bureaucracy that was Nazi Germany. After about two hours we left, so the fragment of the Berlin Wall just north of the museum, and then headed over to Kreuzberg for lunch. I suggested the Turkish pizza place I went to last year.

I seem to have taught my students a "bad habit;" they now are photographing all their meals. Three of us got the turkish garlic sausage pizza, while the other two got the vegetarian ones. One student tried a date soda; I stuck to Cola light. Outside we got a kick of how the cafe billed itself as both "koscher" and "halal." How do you have kosher sausage pizza???

From there it was a short walk to the Jewish Museum. This is really an exploded museum turned inside out. It was important for my memorial students to see it as it was really path breaking in its architectural approach. For the Holocaust student it gave them a good overview of Jewish culture in Germany. In the garden of exile, we ran into an Israel tour group, and I enjoyed chatting with them in Hebrew (which is really much better than my German).

This was our last "work outing" for the day. It was nearly 4, so we headed over to the Cafe Einstein Stammhaus (the original location) and sat in the garden. The students all ordered versions of ice coffee (with ice cream) or ice cappuccino (without). I stuck with cafe au lait. It came with separate pitchers of hot milk and hot coffee, so I could mix them to the strength I preferred. I thought about getting the raspberry mini torte, but ended up getting the strawberry torte (though I forgot to get the whip cream). We sat out there for over an hour and half, getting our strength back after all the walking.

We headed back towards Zoo Station, so one student could find a replacement lens for her camera. That turned out to be more complicated than we thought and we didn't get back to the hotel until after 7:30. Only one student was interested in going with me to dinner, so we headed to Vapiano. Mistake! I had eaten there 5 years ago and thought it was fine. Basically you order your pasta dish, drinks, they enter it on your card, and you pay at the register after you've eaten on your way out. We got there a little after 8, but the line moved VERY slowly. So slowly that we were still standing in it waiting for our food after 45 minutes. No meal is worth standing 45 minutes in line for.

We walked about five blocks down the Ku'damm and found a half-priced internet cafe, where I typed this up. I'm getting ready to crash. Tomorrow morning, I'm getting them up a little earlier and we're heading up to Sachsenhausen. I'm going to try to find a bus, rather than walk the 20 minutes from the station, but I don't think there is one.

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