In a strange twist, we saw all the touristy sights of Berlin without walking across the entire city. I never thought a bus tour would be so refreshing and relaxing. We saw the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Berlin Wall, lavish homes once occupied by the Prussian aristocracy, and the Victory Spire.
Sunday was a whole pile of crazy. In the morning we went to the Mauerpark Flohmarkt (Wall-park flea market) as recommended by my host parents. Fur coats, vintage Soviet electronics, vinyl records, shoes, used clothing, bicycles, jewelry, hats, and any number of other things we missed. It was an overwhelming and vaguely claustrophobic experience, but it was incredible to see the wide array of people in attendance.
After the flea market, we stopped for lunch (chocolate milkshake) and then made our way to the Karnival der Kulturen. When I first decided on the Berlin summer program, my dad sent me a Youtube clip of a previous year’s parade as a bit of a joke as if to say “Germans are crazy”. Well, he was right. Germans really know how to throw a party, especially one in the streets complete with techno club floats blasting dubstep as hundreds of thousands of people dance behind them for four hours. It was way better than any diskotek.
Once the party disbanded, Kelsey, Pily, Seth, and I went to meet a connection of Seth’s to go see some of the underground/hipster spots to hang. On our way to a club we ran into a man with a disco ball and a stroller full of speakers blaring house beats on the metro platform. The ensuing dance party was indescribably incredible and something I plan on bringing home to the States. Around 2am we eventually ended up at Casseopeia, a small, grungy, outdoor show venue/skate park in a bombed-out, abandoned industrial complex on the Berlin wall. We talked politics with hipsters until the sun came up. This was one of those “What is my life right now?” moments; I occasionally find it hard to believe what I’ve been doing for the past week.