Friday, May 2, 2014

I believe I (Taylor) am the first one in Berlin. So I'll break the ice with a first post. Here's a transcription of some writing in my journal from yesterday, if you're into that sort of thing...

            —so reads the inscription on the facade of the Altes Museum, in whose courtyard I am in fact sitting as I write. Translation: “Fridericus Guilelmus III, out of his zealous interest in every kind of antiquity and the liberal arts, founded this museum in 1818.” The birds are around me in this courtyard are extremely aggressive. They all but hop into my lap. (The city seems to be covered with the same little sparrows that fill the streets of Ann Arbor, but of a more fearless variety. One took food right out of my plate last night.) To my right there also stands a massive church. Behind that, the River Spree. And it’s a nice 65 degrees or so.
            This morning at 7:30 I had my first breakfast at a place just outside my hostel. And a very nice conversation with a Turkish woman who works in the shop. My first real-world German exchange! She gave me the load-down about “One-May” (today), that it’s a workers’ holiday, commemorating / continuing protests for workers rights. Although she had to dumb a lot of it down because of my total lack of vocabulary. She told me about how her kids apparently started rebelling against her own authority when they themselves learned about the holiday. And she gave me some tips for my German. Nice ways to order food or ask to use the rest room. Etc.
            The food was also delicious. There was only one option for breakfast at this little cafe/bake-shop: the Frühstück. My plate made for a nice arrangement. An egg in the center, circled by five little stations: 2 kinds of meat, 2 kinds of cheese, and sliced tomatoes and cucumber. And a basket with bread and jam. Myself and my server (who’s name I have forgotten!) both sat outside the shop—I ate and she smoked.
            Right now, as I sit before the Altes Museum, I have a rented bike and have no plans. The weather is perfect. I guess I’m just gonna ride around for a few hours until I am too famished to continue…see the May Day festivities…At which point I will eat, grab coffee, do some reading on the porch of some cafe. A nice day of lazy unproductive sight-seeing.

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