Friday, July 29, 2011

Berlin Excursion - Day 1

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Travel Day! But first class…

This morning we started another new course Institutions in the Making of Europe taught by Professor Markus Taube. With a name like that, we assumed that it would be another political history course, so we were in for a surprise when Prof. Taube launched into a detailed explanation of the fundamentals of game theory complete with diagrams of various thought games.

Fortunately, the topic was fairly interesting and the lesson was thirty minutes shorter than normal on account of our afternoon departure for Berlin.  As an optional part of the program, BEST offers a 2½ -day excursion to Berlin accompanied by Prof. Chamoni and a few other staff members.  At 11:30 we left campus and headed for the Duisburg Hauptbahnhof where we boarded an ICE bound for Berlin.  Ryan, Clo, and I sat at a table while Prof. Chamoni, Jörn, Malte, and Blayze sat opposite at another table.  The trip lasted approximately 5 hours, putting us in Berlin at around 6:00 that evening.  Time flew by with the train picking up speed as we headed east, eventually topping out at 230km/hr.  After a while Dr. Chamoni invited Jörn, Malte, Blayze, and Prof. Klein to join him in the restaurant car for a drink and generously covered the bill.  All in all, it was a very relaxing trip and a good start to our weekend adventure. 
Lena, Kylace, and Ivy are waiting for the train.

The guys settle in for the five hour trip.
Clo playing Sudoku on my NOOK.
The new Berlin Hauptbahnhof was completed in time for the FIFA World Cup in 2006.  It features a stunning steel-and-glass multilevel design with trains arriving on the lower- and uppermost levels.  As we disembarked the ICE, the professors headed off to catch a cab, leaving us mere students to make do with the local trains.   We had a few minutes before our train to look around the massive station with a direct view of the renovated Reichstag, or parliament building, directly across the street. 

The regional train took us to Alexanderplatz, a well-known square located in former East-Berlin in the shadow of the TV Tower.  It began to rain, but our hotel IBIS Mittel Alexanderplatz was located only 3-4 blocks north of the square on Prenzlauer Allee and we were soon checked in a able to dry off.

For dinner the group headed northwest, deeper into the Prenzlauer neighborhood which is known for its wide variety of international restaurants.  Seeing an ad for all-you-can-eat schnitzel, we settled on an appropriately-named restaurant called Endlos (Endless).  While the food was decent, the service left something to be desired.  Despite their ad, the staff seemed reluctant to bring out more schnitzel; we ordered several just to make a point.

...and wrote on their sign.

After dinner we returned to the hotel and prepared for Friday´s visit to the Bundestag!

No comments:

Post a Comment