berlin

Berlin marks the official halfway point. But, that also means that I am running very far behind on my posts. Since my last exam at Uni was today my plan is to do about a post a day until I get catch up. I did the math and I believe there will be 7 maybe 8 until I all caught up with spring break, which will be perfect timing as I can then post about my very last trip that’s coming up.

The train ride into Berlin was also worth noting because little did we know the train we where on had been in operation for too long so we needed to switch trains. But, since they were making these said announcements about switch trains in German we had no clue. If it wasn’t for the sweet old man who explained to us what was happening we might have never made it. Thankful we managed to successfully switch trains in Hanover. Though, we were highly confused as to where we were to sit. The train was all first class cars and we had second class tickets. It took us longer than it should have to realize we just had to sit where we could find a seat.

Courtney and I had to walk the entire train to find seats, but we finally did and it was a quite comfortable ride from there. At least we weren’t stupid enough to leave our passports on the other train like some girl did when we had to do the switch….After that we decided to take a cab to the hostel in Berlin rather than trying to walk, we were beat. And, thankfully we were able to get our laundry done at the hostel….more on that in a bit.

With the afternoon to explore we headed to Checkpoint Charlie and then enjoyed a nice German Beer nearby. The next morning we were anxious to see what our visit to Sachsenhausen would have in store for us. But, first we went to go pick up our laundry…. In a nutshell they forgot to do our laundry because so it wasn’t ready and so they offered us free breakfast to make up for it. They only gave us 2 plates for the 4 of us so we just shared off that but then the guy tried to make us pay the difference because it was only 2 bags of laundry not 4, even though there were 4 different peoples laundry in there. The guy was an absolute dick (pardon my french but he really was). DO NOT EVER STAY AT THE CITY STAY HOSTEL IN BERLIN. For the full story see my trip advisor review.

ps. I stole your pen and I don’t feel bad about it at all.

After that nice morning pick me up we headed for our tour…and we knew the day was turning around when our guide Roy, made a High School Musical Reference about 2 minutes in. When we finally arrived I was a bit of a mess. I really didn’t know what to expect. But Roy, did seriously an awesome job at giving a detailed description of the camp. It just bothered me that some people in our group were being so disrespectful and just standing in the back making jokes the whole time. Not cool.

The visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial was worth ever penny. Like the Ann Frank House is was a very introspective thing, I could have spend hours there taking it all in. I will say though that when we went to the crematorium I felt like I wasn’t allowed to breathe.

Once back in Berlin we headed to check out the Berlin Wall. It’s definitely one of those things where you don’t realize it’s significance until you are there seeing it for your own eyes. I liked just being able to run my fingers along the wall to see what it felt like. And, I appreciated that I could do that as so many things are ‘do not touch.’ A lot of the wall still remains today and we only just saw a small section. If I ever get back to Berlin I’d like to walk the whole thing.


                                     Cheers.

~meesh

P.S. I’m trying a new format style with all the pictures at the end. Click the ‘Like’ button if you like it or leave a comment with suggestions! I want to hear from you all!

more photos here

it’s all about the bacon

Today marks the first official day of classes here at Uni (it’s what they call University…I’m trying to adopt a first words from their lingo). Although I didn’t have any classes schedule today I had a few administrative items to take care of on campus.

First on the list was picking up my I.D. card so I headed over to campus with my Illinois crew to student services. We were to get them on level nine….and when we walk in, on the ground level, we were on level 9….so we were a little like ‘ok then….lets hope this is the right place.’

IMG_3391Photo: The walk onto campus, to the right is Student Services

Now instead of taking a photo there, like you normally would, we were required to upload a photo before hand, which was also quite strange…But, anyways we got our I.D. so yay! I guess we are official students now, before it was as if we had no sense of purpose without our I.D. cards.

Then we went on to tackle bigger and better things like changing our class schedule because class on a Friday just wasn’t going to cut it. This is where things get tricky because as a study abroad student you can’t just go in a register for any class you want like you would at U of I. You have to go through the schools administrative office to do so. And because the different schools don’t work together it’s a lot easier to take classes that are all in the same school or else you have to go from school to school…and literally like walk from school to school…to get approvals.

IMG_3418Photo: Leeds equivalent to U of I Alma

Lucky for me I was able to add and drop a class in the same school so I was able to kill two birds with one stone. And it’s actually a huge relief to have my schedule all sorted out because now I know for sure what I’m taking and I can stop sending emails lie crazy to get in touch with people about making a change. It was literally driving me up a wall, I was emailing like 20 a day trying to get answers.

So, now you’re asking why is it all about the bacon. well that’s because here there really is no center of campus. There’s nothing substantial to base yourself off of when you are trying to find certain buildings. But on the walk into to campus there happens to be a sculpture that looks a whole lot like 2 pieces of bacon.

IMG_3401Photo: The infamous bacon

Now of course it only looks like bacon to us Americans because the bacon in England is WAYYYYY different than in the USA. So of course us Americans base all the building around the bacon. So today as we were finding the buildings we needs to go to we were like ‘oh it’s across from the bacon.’

It’s basically become our “quad” in a sense even though it not nearly as big of a space. But in terms of getting to class it really is all about the bacon…

IMG_3390 IMG_3403

Photo: Outside the Union, so festive IMG_3402 IMG_3404

Photo: Back entrance to Union IMG_3406 IMG_3407 IMG_3411 IMG_3421 IMG_3383

Photo: Harry Potter like staircase….IMG_3386For more photos, check out my flickr.

Enjoy.

~meesh