I debated whether or not all of last week should end up in a single post.
…And here goes! Last week began with a fresh batch of snow (I love snow!) and low temperatures. Berlin has hardly warmed above 25ºF these last few weeks, and I think I’ve really become acclimated. There’s just no rushing out of the apartment–it takes a minute to gather my sweater, scarf, gloves, hat, and jacket before I step out. The snow brings out tremendous contrast in the rooftops and landscape; hopefully it comes back after next week’s warmer temperatures!
Moving forward through the week to Friday, I visited the former Soviet and Stasi Prison Hohenschönhausen with the FU-BEST program. Utilized by the Soviet regime post-war and the DDR after the formation of the East German state, the prison was used to hold, interrogate, and torture enemies of the party. The conditions were deplorable, and it was impossible to witness such a horrible place and not be reminded of the violations of human rights taking place today in military prisons all over the world.
How any state could be so morally bankrupt, especially post-holocaust, is beyond me. To learn more, visit the memorial website.
Friday afternoon found a good friend and myself at Grüne Woche (Green Week.) It’s an overwhelmingly large convention with a strong emphasis on German and international food, beer, and wine. We spent a good four hours walking the massive complex, and saw perhaps 2/3 of the exhibitions. Originally founded as an agricultural exhibition, the convention honors it’s roots with state fair-style animal exhibitions, farm equipment, and a flower show.
Of all of our hundreds of food choices, we ended up with Rwandan curry paired with DjuDju mango beer and palm lager. I would definitely go back to check out more food next year!
I’ll wrap this post with my Saturday activities– I scooted out to Schöneberg for the Saturday Winterfeldt-Markt. It was a decent little market with good food and the usual market goods like scarves, wallets, and produce. I was lucky enough to find some very inexpensive egyptian chamomile. The real treat was stumbling into Heinrich-von-Kleist Park, a cool spot with neo-baroque columns and the former seat of the Allied Control Council post WWII. I definitely want to make it to a Sunday flea-market soon!
I also visited the Deutsche Kinemathik (museum for film and television) at Potsdamer Platz, where I finally understood the function of the maltese-cross in the film projector.
Rounding out a long day was a trip to Ikea, where I find a 5€ teapot with infuser. Score!