The TV tower restaurant turned slowly as we stared at Berlin from 300m high. I was in fantasyland for a moment. The rest was a disaster.
Okay, maybe not a complete disaster. Not only did we get to eat like kings in the TV tower, but we saw the Kanzleramt, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Stasi museum, the DDR jail. We had a wonderful city tour guide, ate delicious meals, rode around in a bus—and all of it was free.
It was the one group of guys, the triad, who made my life miserable. But it didn’t start miserable. It was the first moment anyone in the group had talked to me.
“Are you from the press?” he asked, watching me take pictures of the microphone in the Bundesrat.
“No, I actually work at the state chancellery,” I said. “I’m doing an internship there.”
He heard my accent, so I answered his question. “I’m from America.”
He raised his eyebrows, “Very interesting. Sounds like an adventure.”
“Ja.” I didn’t know what else to say about myself. I thought that sufficed. “And what are you doing here?”
“Oh, I’m from the (such and such), like the rest of the people here. I am the leader of the….” I nodded as he talked, even though I couldn’t catch the rest of his title. I was just relieved that someone was talking to me. We had all met in the bus at 6am this morning and I had tried to talk to the only girls there, but they didn’t seem too fond of me. I knew there was another lady around, but I hadn’t seen her since this morning. The rest of the 40 people were men.
We walked out of the Bundesrat towards the bus.
“Hey, this is Anne,” the guy, who I now knew was named Jan, said to two others. “Anne, this is Wolfgang and Nils.”
“Hello!” they both smiled and shook my hand.
The bus took us down a few blocks to Potsdamer Platz, where the Christmas market was already set up. We had thirty minutes to grab a cup of coffee and a snack before we’d go to the next meeting of the day. A big group of us, including the Wolfgang-Nils-Jan triad, gathered in a circle next to the wooden crepe stand.
I noticed that under everyone’s coats, most of them wore jeans and t-shirts, some without a button down shirt. Even the two girls—who didn’t stand with us in the group—wore jeans and converse. My long green coat covered my only professional grey skirt and pink sweater with a black and white necklace. I was contemplating on bringing my high heels, but now I’m glad I didn’t. But there was one guy, who looked about my age, that wore black slacks and a suit jacket. He timidly looked down at his shoes, his rim-less glasses falling down to the tip of his nose.
Jan must have been thinking the same thing as me, because the next words that came out of his mouth as he looked at Mr. Timid were, “Excuse me, can I ask you what f***ed up reason you decided to wear that today?”
“Me?” Mr. Timid said, looking up at Jan. “Well, we were invited by the state government and it didn’t say in the letter what the attire would be. I just wanted to be safe.”
The triade laughed. Mr. Timid kept a hard face.
“I thought the same thing,” I said to him. He nodded and shrugged.
Jan led the rest of the conversation in the big group, but I didn’t listen. Something about what he does at the Hamburg airport, and what not. I looked at his jeans that flared at the ankles, his black leather belt matching his black pointed shoes, and his black button-up shirt with too many buttons on the top open for such a fleshy chest. What a chump, I thought.
“We’re going to check out the Sony building,” Jan said, “Right guys?”
The guys followed behind him. Before they left the circle, Jan looked at me, “Are you coming with?”
“No, I’ve seen it.”
He stared at me for a few seconds longer, turned around and shrugged. “Come on, guys.”
(I’m done with the story. Blah dee blah. I wrote this up earlier this week and I’m too bored of it to keep going.)
Either way, I ended up finding a good group and being able to somewhat ignore them fellows. But they were extremely stupid.
Inside the Bundestag
Hanging out in the glass dome on top of the Bundestag
The Ampelmann. 🙂
The Bundestag from the front
Here’s where Angela Merkel’s office is.
In the Kanzleramt, the building where Angela Merkel works, there’s a row of portraits of all the chancellors.
Seeing Berlin from the TV tower
Eating like kings.
Amazing. My ultimate favorite part of the trip. And it spins, people! You sit and it slowly spins so you get to see all of Berlin.
Delicious desserts. That are free (for me).
Learning about the Stasis.
A piece of the wall, not the main wall, but the other security wall. Looks like the Walking Dead.
That’s the wall wall. Looking through the wall to the main wall. Haha. Get it?
We took a tour into the DDR jail. Creepy, people!
This tour guide was spectacular because she had stayed in here and had so many stories to tell.