In Berlin

It’s an entirely different city.  I was gone not two months and the place transformed.  Gray skies, dour faces and mud have given way to sunshine, grins and everything abloom.  After my initial trepidation about returning so soon, I have been happily surprised by this summery Berlin.

Yes, the change of seasons has much to do with the metamorphosis, but I also point the finger at Euro Cup 2012.  Tv’s are set up everywhere in parks, on sidewalks, and in shopping malls.  People are flying flags and painting their faces.  The excitement is contagious.  It feels highly reminiscent of the 2006 World Cup (Pepp soccer girls-you’d be lovin it).  Despite the violence, racism and arrests plaguing the tournament, the feeling round these parts is one of goodwill and celebration.

Germans, rightly or wrongly, haven’t had much opportunity or call to proudly fly their flag in the past century.  Expressing national pride can be a tricky and self conscious exercise here.  So there’s something sort of heartwarming about seeing German people happily decking out their cars, donning jerseys and cheering on their national team.

Along with the Euro madness, we had the chance to take in some volleyball action at the Olympic qualification tournament.

Vying for one of the last slots in London, Germany and Cuba battled for 5 sets.

A nail biter of a match, the Germans finally closed it out in front of their home crowd.

Directly after the match, they rolled in a big screen so that we could enjoy the Euro action.  Wouldn’t want to miss a minute, would you?

Have I mentioned that red, black and gold are everywhere?

– Patriotic candy

Tuesday evening, at the mayor’s invitation, PC and I headed to the Rathaus (city hall) for Hoffest.  The whole BR volley’s crew was invited to partake in an evening of food, drinks, music and prizes.

An extensive advertising fair, seemingly every company in Berlin had a booth with free crap to hand out.  A favorite for our group was the Berliner Bank booth, and their airline quiz.  Match the airlines with their countries of origin and win stuff.

Some teammates won flashy hats and lanyards.

We all won segway tours! I can’t wait for an hour of touristy nerdiness.

The array of food and drink was dizzying.  I think I had dinner and dessert about five times over.  Creme Brulee, grilled lamb, pistachio ice cream, currywurst …mmmm.  In the end we ate and drank more than our share.  Perhaps not the classiest course of action, but how often do you get to go to an event like this?

– PC eyeing/eating a macaron.  This picture just cracks me up.

Since Hoffest, the days have been filled with fußball and radlers.  Radler is a divine half beer, half lemonade concoction perfect for the warm days here.  I see no reason to drink anything else this summer.

– the grapefruit variety is a new fave

I guess that’s all for now.

Oh wait!

We got a freezer!  Holy cow is it awesome.  At this very moment, I have a whole box of magnums, and an additional carton of ice cream chillin’ (literally) and ready to be eaten any time the mood strikes.

I know this sounds ridiculous, ‘what’s the big deal about a freezer and ice cream?’.  Well what is one to do if it’s 10:30pm, you’re craving frozen dessert, and you live in Berlin?.  The supermarket is closed, the ice cream shops are down for the count, and you’re out of luck.  Erin without ice cream is not a good thing.  No way am I spending any more evenings dealing with that noise. It’s ice cream time in this casa.

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4 thoughts on “In Berlin

  1. It warms my heart to hear you gush about ice cream. It is divine, right?! Looks like nearly nonstop fun, eats, drinks, and summer action! Way to take advantage! having freezer goodies on hand at any hour is simply essential. You guys look great at the mayor’s invite event. And congrats to Deutchland for Olympic qualifying as well as success so far in Euro 2012 🙂

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