Category Archives: Germany

It seems like I end up in the Spreewald once every summer, but never had I explored it on the water. When my team was planning a day out, I took the lead and booked some canoes. It was the last week of August and after some really hot weather, it seemed like fall was on its way. The weekend had been dreary and this morning clouds were hanging over Berlin, with about 19 degrees. But the forecast for the Spreewald looked better. So we packed layers, but also sunglasses and made our way to Lübbenau by train. While one guy explained the route to us, another put the 2 canoes in the water. We were ready to go! Close to Lübbenau we saw more canoers and kayakers leaving for a trip on the Spreewald’s waterways, but since there are so many options, it quickly spread out and at times…

Read more

On Thursday I decided to buy a ticket to Berlin’s long night of the museums, a night where many of Berlin’s museums open their doors until 2 AM and offer special programs like performances and express tours. With one ticket you can visit it all. It seemed like a great plan. However, on Friday night I attended the company party at the Napolean Komplex. The theme was 80s and after weeks of stressing about the outfit I ended up buying a cheap T-shirt, putting some beads on a string and going overboard with make-up and hairspray. Unfortunately, after many nice days, on Friday a storm rolled into Berlin. It was pouring down and seemed to ruin the party. I think it mostly ruined my hair. No amount of hairspray would keep it up. Arriving at the event venue we had to walk over pallets to cross the puddles of rainwater.…

Read more

It’s already August, the last month of Germany’s €9 ticket. Time to make a trip outside of Berlin, perhaps one of the last ones this summer. With 29 degrees in the forecast I packed my cap, sunscreen and sunglasses. I added my lunch and a book and took a train to the Beelitz Heilstätten, about 45 minutes outside of Berlin. The Heilstätten was a huge sanatorium, mainly for people with tuberculosis. It was built at the end of the 19th century, in a time where Berlin was going through industrialization and attracted many people from the countryside. Hygiene was poor, with dozens of people living on the same floor and sharing a bathroom. It was the perfect place for TB to spread. So all over Germany these sanatoriums started to appear, particularly in places like the Alps, with good air quality. Beelitz was chosen as a site closer to Berlin.…

Read more

Every day we learn something new. One day I learn about action research, the next I learn about mosquitoes… the hard way! I started counting my mosquito bites, but it’s no use, I keep losing track. The back of my legs provided a tasty snack for several dozens of mosquitoes, the front coming in a close second for the tough guys who didn’t mind biting through my leggings. As I’m trying not to constantly scratch my legs I have flashbacks of the swarms of tiny creatures we found in the forest. For a mosquito the creatures were actually fairly big and they were ferocious. Hiking became an awkward dance that looked like waacking, waving my hands around my head and body, slapping my legs to provide some rhythm and kill a few. Now it’s all I can think about, but the hike was actually really nice. I’d been meaning to…

Read more

This weekend a quick train ride brought me to Leipzig. After waiting for 2 years I finally got to go to the Rammstein concert! I took the opportunity to check out the city and I was surprised. What a beautiful place this is! At only 1,5 hours from Berlin, it’s perfect for a day or weekend trip. The gigantic Leipzig Hauptbahnhof is right at the edge of the inner city. From here you walk straight to all the main sites, the many shops and cosy restaurants. The station is the largest one in Europe, at least by surface area, and it’s got a shopping mall hidden under the station floor. But once you leave the station, you find out Leipzig is the city of “biggest”. The tallest town hall tower in Germany stands in the huge castle-like new town hall. The old one wasn’t big enough, so Leipzig build a…

Read more

It’s funny how you start to believe you can do something. Last August I watched the half marathon, referring to the runners as crazy. In September I joined a company 5,5 km and surprised myself with the result. At the end of that month I watch the marathon runners, calling them insane. I still think it’s crazy, whether it’s a 21 or 42 km, but slowly I felt the urge to increase my running distance, just to explore what I would be capable of. As I ran a few 10 km’s, new ideas started forming in my head. Maybe I should sign up for the half marathon… In November I started to increase my distances. 8 km. 10 km. 12 km. 14,5 km. If I could do that, then surely I could do 21 km? In December I felt comfortable enough to sign up, encouraged by a study friend whom…

Read more

The Firmenlauf, or company run, is a 5,5km run around the Tiergarten area in Berlin, open to companies to sign up for. I hadn’t done a race since I was a teenager, so when the sign up sheet was published in our company, I decided to go for it. I picked up a number, T-shirt and tracker chip and was ready to go. On the day of the race weather had turned. After a couple of beautiful September days, there was now rain in the forecast and with it the complaints from other participants started flooding in on Slack. Once again I was surprised by the negativity of people. Because of COVID there were stricter rules at the race and you couldn’t leave your bags anywhere this year. That meant that you had to run with everything you carried. It was raining lightly as we all gathered near the Brandenburger…

Read more

For the third year in a row I visit the Festival of Lights in Berlin. This year’s theme was creating tomorrow, supporting the climate pledge, so there were plenty of images of nature and renewable energy. The main three places displayed man, nature and technology on the Brandenburg Gate, Bebelsplatz and the TV tower. All up there were about 70 locations showing light installations varying from lit up trees and still images to video mapping. The main difference with last year was that it felt like COVID was just a figment of our imagination. It was incredibly busy, with masses of people moving along Unter den Linden. Tourists and Berliners alike had come out to see the show, even on the colder and wetter days. Bebelsplatz was one of the crowded places along the main route through Mitte. I always love Bebelsplatz since there are many installations in one place…

Read more

The forecast showed a sunny Saturday, so I decided to sign up for a meetup. I’d been trying to find a day to go kayaking but so far it hadn’t worked out. Perhaps this was my chance. The day started off cloudy and it was the obvious first point of conversation as I met the other people at Schlesi U-bahn station. From here we walked to Freischwimmer, a quirky café along the canal that ends in the Spree river. Signs directed us through a small entrance along the back of the café, passing a little stage with a wide selection of chairs in front of it. It all felt very ‘Berlin’. At the very end was a small dock with a bunch of kayaks, canoes and old paddle boats. We sorted in some groups and the 11 of us entered the water. I was well familiar with the area, doing…

Read more

It’s strange to walk through the city these days. Guides stand in the middle of the sidewalk, bike tours race by, people have cameras around their neck and the terraces are full of people having breakfast, even on a weekday. Tourism is returning to the streets of Berlin. It’s minimal, but it’s obvious. A lot of Germans come to check out their own capital, but there some people from further afield.  Sunday started out as an incredibly hot day. Even when I biked through the quiet streets at 9AM, it was already hot. But it was also windy. A change was coming. I decided it was about time for me to explore my city a bit more as well. I chose a small museum that perhaps isn’t visited so often by first time visitors. From my home I walked through the Mauerpark, where cheers were coming from the karaoke stage…

Read more

10/57