I'm on the second of three weekend trips organized by the University, this one to beutiful, historic, tourism-driven Weimar. The bus driver for our little trip was quite the entreprenuer: when he wasn't driving us around he sold drinks -- water, fruit juice, and beer. The list of places where it is not sociable acciptable to drink in Germany is quite short. -_-; Places that would be alcohol free in America are not here, such as Burger King or a suburban bus at 8 o'clock in the morning on a work day. The security check at the Brandenberg Gate is concerned with keeping out nutcases with AK-47s and glass containters, not drinks.
Speaking of the Brandenberg Gate, the reason there is now a security check neat it is beacuse it is one end of the Fan Mile. As the name implies, one mile of 17 Juli Straße (from the gate to the Victory Column in Tiergarten) has been blocked off to automobile traffic, giant TV screens have been set up so ticketless pleblians (like me) can watch the games of the World Cup (in German the Welt Meisterschaft, or WM). Also, food is sold there for almost double the normal price. There are other public viewing areas, like the Addidas World of Fottball (a scale model of the Olympic Stadium), the Sonz Center in Potsdamer Platz, and the Kultur Brauerei, for example, but the main advantage of the Brandengerg Gate is tha admitance is free, and everz place else either charges zou 3 EUR admittance, or (in the case of a Knipe) insists that you buy a drink.
When I'm not watching footbal or in class... that doesnät leave much time for much except sleeping. Fortunatlz, my classes make frequent excursions into the city.
With the German class I spent a day exploring the neighborhood of Prinzlauerberg*, which is home to the Kultur Braueri and Berlinäs best Currywurst Stand. That afternoon (a week ago Wednesday) I also went on a river -boat tour of the citz on the Spree, so there was a nice view of the Reichstag, the new Parlimentarz Library, and the Tiergarten. Then, this past Wednesday, we went to the Gorki Theater (in Mitte, near the Museum Island), one of the 4 state threaters in Berlin. We had a short tour of the threater** and spent the rest of the day doing a workshop on Kafka's Amerika which was the play being performed that evening. I thought about going to see it but 1.) I donät like Kafka well enough to sit through a 2 hour play without an intermission and 2.) the Germany/Poland game was that eveing. I'm happy with my choice, it was a really exciting game. :)
With my literature class, weäve been making a small expidition every day that hasbeen more or less related to the topic. We read a short storz by Kleist and then went to his grave. We read a poem by a Jewish yuthor and then went to the Jewish Museeum. We read a poem by Rilke about a panther and when to the zoo in time to see the big cats get fed. Today we were reading works by the expresionists and the escursion was to the museum of expresssionist at. I was unfortunatlz unable to go beacue the morning class went long, and I had to run in order to meet the group foing to Weimar.
I also spent a day in Dresden, thanks to the University, where I took a walking tour of the city, went to the old masters gallary (I am now in lover with the work of Gerrard Dou), and saw the crown jewels of Saxony.
As ever, I promise to have pictures up really soon, but I canät upload any until I get back to Berlin.
P.S. forgive me if there are a lot of Z's where there should be Y's or # or ä instead of '. I'm using the computer at the hostel and the German Keyboard is set up oddly.
*but if you really want to sound like a Berliner you'll say Prinz'berg or P'berg
**which didnät take all that long since it's really small, it only seats about 400, as it was origanly built for choral concerts