S Bahn, U Bahn… Autobahn?

First, I would like to give an apology to all our readers out in the blogosphere for the hiatus in posting. CR will return with full force and (hopefully) with some entertaining content. 

Good day readers, it’s Saturday, May 18th, National No Dirty Dishes Day, welcome to the blog. I think we all honored this day today, as Bravo team left our crepe dishes spotless after our snack break in Treptower Park. 

“Time flies when you’re having fun” is a quote I’ve always heard, but never have fully experienced… until this trip. This morning I woke up and had a plan to go get chapstick from the local drug store here in Berlin. I checked the day before, and it said that on Thursday the store opens at 7am, allowing me to make my purchase before I went out on our daily excursion, not to hold up my team. I woke up this morning and left to get my chapstick to find that the store was closed. I checked the sign and verified that on Thursday’s the store still opens at 7am, so I was severely confused. Here’s where I went wrong: 1) It was Saturday, 2) the store opens at 9am, 3) this trip is flying by. 

CR leaves from Berlin tomorrow on the infamous night train to head toward Munich, which means it has already been 5 days since touchdown in Europe. 

The first full day in Berlin, Dr. P split the 16 of us into three groups, named Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie, deriving from the three main armed entry and exit points separating the East and the West. I was lucky enough that day to call myself a Bravo, along with 4 other great individuals. 

Each group then received an itinerary of suggested places to visit dispersed throughout the city, a map of the city, a public transit map, and some money to cover admissions costs and other miscellaneous expenses we would have throughout Berlin. Bravo team was a huge proponent of the S Bahn and U Bahn. There’s something about public transports that make me especially happy. Berlin’s public transit supersedes others that I have been on through its ease of navigation, cleanliness, and overall swift. It makes the city feel very manageable and allows for high levels of versatility and efficiency. It’s so fast it makes you feel like you’re almost on the autobahn… kind of 🙂

Out of numerous places visited throughout the past few days, ONE of my favorites was The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This memorial consists of 2711 concrete slabs or “stelae” of varying height. The undulation of the ground on which these stelae are placed create a feeling of insignificance and loneliness, like you are alone in a maze with no understanding of directional awareness. Throughout most of our lives, we have heard the devastating stories of the Holocaust, but one thing this museum helped expose was a more personal side. The exhibits included family histories and stories from individuals who survived. One story which struck me the hardest was of this mom who talked the Nazi’s into letting her children and older mother stay behind so they didn’t have to undergo laborious efforts. Little did the mom know that her selfless efforts had led her children and mother to their death. While it is sometimes hard to read, accept, and understand history, being with empathetic, caring, and loving group members is what I credit to the beauty of CR. The people I am surrounded by want to go deeper, probing into past issues, and using our similarly-different frames of reference to help one another learn. 

I want to begin highlighting people on this trip that make an impact on me or are just simply a light to be around. This blog’s highlight: Connor Nolan. 

Connor is an amiable, adventurous, and adaptable individual. This is exemplified through having “Best Smile” as his senior superlative, through his love for the outdoors as he walked through the airport with his hiking backpack weighted perfectly on his hips, and through his ability to guide a group through Berlin, compass always in his right hand. As a future engineer and current history lover, he has a passion for questioning, learning, and delving into the historical and natural world around us. But most importantly, Connor leads and loves with a quiet determination, and that is something I think we can all learn from.

That’s all for now.

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