Berlin was amazing. I loved the city, the people, the food, the language, pretty much everything. It was nice to be in a country where I could communicate again and for once be the person translating instead of having things translated for me. There was a lot of history and not enough time to see everything I wanted to. We did a free walking tour, checked out monuments and museums, went to the clubs, and met some amazing people. Let me just take a minute to plug Wombats City Hostel in Berlin. They were incredibly helpful and accommodating and the hostel itself was clean and in a great location. We made friends with people from all over the world and I even managed to make a Thanksgiving dinner sans oven in the Hostel kitchen. Overall, it was a wonderful trip and a nice break from the chaos of Istanbul. (The people in Berlin would not cross if there wasn’t a cross walk and wouldn’t walk across a street if the sign was red–even if there were no cars coming!)
I haven’t had much time to post about Berlin in the two weeks that I’ve been back and haven’t even loaded pictures from my camera yet. But I do have a few pictures from my phone to post. Hopefully things at school will calm down soon and I’ll be able to regularly post again.
The Brandburg Tor at night. My camera phone does not do it justice.
Remnants of the wall (Die Mauer) in front of an old Nazi building that is now used as a finance building on the East side.
A brick line stands where most of the wall used to stand, dividing East from West. My friend is currently on the West, while I stay to the East.
I can’t remember the official name of this memorial, but it was basically a memorial in the middle of Berlin that was supposed to be for those who lost their lives to the Holocaust. It’s dimensions were interesting; it looks like all one height, but as you walk through it, it devours you in a maze of different towers.
Standing in the monument.
A statue for good old Goethe.
This guy was hanging out on the building next to us. We got to wake up to him every morning.
This was outside a Jewish graveyard. I didn’t manage to get the whole message in there, but it reads, “We love the Jews & all other people. But we love Mother Nature most.”
My roommate’s dad is very sweet to us and since he knows I like bananas, he is always bringing me some. The problem is that they usually go bad before I can eat them. The easy American fix for this is banana bread. However, I didn’t realize this was an American fix (or maybe it’s just not a Turkish one–I haven’t quite figured it out yet) until I made some the other day. In fact, since there were so many bananas, I made two batches and decided to share most of them. When I took some down to the family I tutor for, she looked confused as to what it actually was.
“Mus ekmek,” I explain, which is the best I can do. It’s literally banana and bread, but with all the suffixes in Turkish, I have no idea if it’s right.
Mmm, banana cake sprinkled with brown sugar.
“Bread? Is this not a cake?”
Well, no. In English, we call this bread. But if you look at it, it does contain a different consistency than most regular breads. It shares a closer consistency to cake in my opinion and it is sweeter, but hadn’t thought of it until she actually pointed it out. Which, if it were bread would make it some form of Mus Pasta, as pasta in Turkish is actually cake. I know, I was confused too.
Either way, the smell of it baking reminded me of home and if I were in the States, I would be stuffing my face next Thursday with Thanksgiving foods. And for the record, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Ever. Who doesn’t love a holiday that centers around food? Alas, I will not be home for Thanksgiving this year, but I will be in Berlin with a friend from the States. So it will be fun to see how we can celebrate it together in a country that doesn’t celebrate it. Maybe we’ll have some mus pasta.