berlin

tiergartenquelle

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In November, David and I went to Tiergartenquelle for our last night in Berlin. It was recommended by a friend as "very German" but with "American-sized portions" (which I still giggle at whenever I remember). For the record, he was right: the portions were enormous (and delicious).

Beyond portion sizes, I loved this place for its charm and warmth. It's located directly underneath the S-Bahn so while you're eating, you can hear and feel the train come and go overhead. I suppose this might be unnerving for some but I found it comforting. I can't explain it. That, along with communal seating, dim lights, and sitting across from one of my favorite people made for a lovely last evening.

I miss Europe.

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scenes from berlin

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Berlin was almost an entirely different city than what I remember-- we were last here in the spring and summer of 2010. Seasons really do wonders. We didn't linger outside as much but it was refreshing to feel the winter air as we revisited familiar streets and old favorites. I don't remember feeling crowded at all. It was quieter and particularly lovely because of it.

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the berlin wall

the first time david and i went to see the berlin wall, we went to checkpoint charlie and the wall there was just gray and desolate. in a way, this felt very true to the existence of the wall and how it divided berlin. later on during our last day in berlin, we managed to find our way to the east gallery, home of the famous murals that stretch a long way for a good walk. in comparing this bright, colorful collection to the gray wall we found at checkpoint charlie, i realize that one thing they both have in common is that they're both honest. the gray, in that it reflects how ugly and broken down we are when we say nothing against barriers; and the painted, in that it shows how beautiful and liberating we grow when we speak out against the barriers laid before us.

zoo[logischer garten]

after my latin summer school program in bologna, i flew to berlin to stay with david for our last week in europe. before now, i've been to berlin/potsdam twice before- early april and then again in late june when i had just come back from the philippines. other than this post, however, i haven't written much about the stuff i've done here.

on sunday, david's aunt and the exchange student she hosted in california drove over to visit and we decided to spend the day at the zoo. zoologischer garten is a pretty lively area with its huge shopping street with FOUR H&M's (i'm not kidding you, there are 4 all on one street), the kaiser wilhelm memorial church and the endless döner shops. but up until sunday david and i had never been to the zoo so we spent the afternoon there.

before sunday, the last time i'd been to a zoo was at least 4 years ago at the san francisco zoo. seeing these amazing animals in person really reminds you of how incredible they are. my two favorite parts of the trip were seeing hippos up close (and seeing how the GIGANTIC creatures are so good at swimming) and also the fact that it was summer and most animals just had babies in the spring.

almost berlin

even though i almost spent an entire week in potsdam and berlin with david, i hardly took any photos. i think my excuse was that i'd be coming back two more times before heading back home, so i guess i'll try to take more photos then. these two photos are one of the rare occasions where i did bring my camera. we went to a big flea market-esque place in berlin to find david a bike (success). i didn't get anything, but a nice man gave me a sample of scented lavender.

now, onto photos of the uk...