Autumn is my favorite time of year. The colorful leaves falling from the trees, the start to sweater weather, apple cider, pumpkin picking, I love everything about this time of year. I look forward to autumn in Geneva. Nothing is more beautiful than the drive along Seneca Lake during a sunny October day. When I found out I would be studying in Berlin, I was definitely thrilled, but it meant I would miss my last fall semester in HWS. Berlin, however, hasn’t disappointed. We’ve been extremely fortunate for unusual warm weather, which has opened up the door for further exploration and adventures.
Last week, our program coordinator took all 13 of us to the Reichstag for a quick tour. The Reichstag is free for all visitors, however requires a reservation that you must make weeks in advance. We spent the first 45 minutes learning about the German government and spent the rest of our visit climbing the dome. Up on the dome, you have an amazing panorama of the city. I wouldn’t categorize Berlin as being a “beautiful” city, like Rome, however I would say that Berlin is well on its way. Currently, the skyline is filled with construction cranes and half built structures, which reiterates the knowledge that Berlin is a city that is constantly changing and reshaping itself.
While Berlin might not be beautiful on the surface, there are countless hidden beauties awaiting discovery. I spent my Saturday exploring an art workshop in the district of Kreuzberg, an area known for its art scene. The workshop was located in a bar-turned-gallery space called Urban Spree. There were about 20 different artists that hosted their own lessons, varying from silkscreen printmaking, metal work, tattooing, water-coloring, crocheting, 3d printing, etc. You paid for each individual workshop you wanted to attend, which unfortunately was a bit pricey. Kate and I decided to make t-shirts, taught by an artist who had a background in all types of printmaking. Our other friend attended an animation workshop where he learned the basics to making short films and editing via computer programs. You can’t possibly be bored in a city like Berlin, there are events like this scattered across the city everyday. It’s just up to the individual to find them.
Backing up a little, the 10th annual Festival of Lights kicked off on Friday in Potsdamer Platz. Famous buildings around the Mitte district are covered in light projectors for about 10 days. We started in Potsdamer platz and walked down the road to Brandenburger Tor. I had heard about this event from a friend who studied through IES Abroad last fall, who had nothing but great things to say. My expectation of the Festival of Lights was, of course, a lights show, but I was under the impression these buildings would be covered in stringing lights, rather than lights being projected onto the buildings. Either way, this event is really unique and a fun event to attend for everyone.
Sunday, I spent my morning at a flohmarkt outside the Rathaus Shöneberg. Fun fact, President Kennedy gave his favorite “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech on the steps to this building! Like other European cities, nothing is open in Berlin on Sundays, so open air markets are extremely popular for people to attend. One of Petra’s daughters had a stand, so Kate and I met up and walked around the market for a few hours. At night, we met up at the Brandenburger Tor S-Bahn stop to attend an Opera. We ended up seeing the Magic Flute, which, yes, was in German. On the back of the seats were screens that translated the lyrics. In my opinion, having to look down to read the screen took away from watching the performance, so I had to compromise. Rather than understanding what they were singing about, I googled the story when I got home. The stage consisted of a large white wall with secret doors the cast would go in and out of during scene changes. The props and backdrop were all projected onto the white screen, which was really, really cool. The animation was absolutely amazing.
I’ve also taken advantage of this warm weather by running through the various parks around my apartment in Shöneberg. I often spend my free time walking through the small, quaint park across from my apartment, but my favorite sport in the city is about a ten-minute walk down the road, called Gliesdreick Park. I won’t get into the many reasons why it’s my favorite place in the city because I will soon enough, in my blocker project.
This week is midterm week, so I’ve mostly been indoors studying. BUT, my parents come at the end of the week for a quick, fun weekend before I’m off to St. Petersburg for a week with my program. Times flies when you’re having fun!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi, my name is Andie D'Agostino. I am a senior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. I am an Architectural Studies major with a minor in Sociology. After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in urban planning and community development.</span></p>