This blog post is very late, but I have much to report! Before I left for Berlin last week, the modern alchemist scholar I contacted for an interview responded and agreed to participate in a Skype interview. Yesterday, I conducted the interview with my supervisor, Wojtek, recording the call, and it was a success. No major screw-ups :). And it was pretty interesting. I won’t say more, though, as I don’t want to spoil the episode, which should be released in November or December of this year.
I have also finished my article comparing Polish and American university experiences, and it is now in the publication process and should be on the website soon. It was interesting to compare what the editing process is like here to the process on the news desk of The Michigan Daily. The article styles are very different, as here articles can be more narrative-based and are more casually written, while at The Daily, articles need to be written objectively and concisely.
Now that I’ve had my last interview for the alchemist episode, I can really dedicate myself to writing the script. I’m a little nervous, as I’ve never written a podcast script before, but I’m excited to see what I come up with.
Onto Berlin! I met Maryellen at our Airbnb on Saturday, and it was SO nice to see a friendly Michigan face. She was traveling a bit before her internship started in Warsaw, so before she met me in Berlin, she’d been in Vienna, then a town outside Innsbruck, then Munich, and maybe something else I’m forgetting. It was great to have another American to bond with about being alone in a foreign country.
We managed to pack a lot into our Berlin trip, seeing as we were there for only two days. The first day we did a 4.5 hour bike tour, on which we visited Bebelplatz (where the Nazis held the first major bookburning), a fragment of the Berlin wall, the site of Hitler’s bunker, the Brandenburg gate, Checkpoint Charley, the last remaining guard tower of the Cold War era, the Reichstag, and probably more that I’m forgetting. We ate lunch (schnitzel and beer!) in the Tiergartens, a huge, beautiful park that actually used to be a hunting ground. After the tour, we headed to Mauerpark, which on Sundays has a huge flea market as well as something called Bearpit Karaoke, where random people sign up to sing a song in front of a huge crowd of people. We also went to the Topography of Terror, a museum documenting the rise of the Nazis and the horror of WW2/the Holocaust. It is free, because the German government wants every German citizen and visitor to know the horrible truths of what happened.
The next day we went to the Pergamon Museum on Museum Island (which is where Angela Merkel lives!), and saw some of the archaeological treasure they have, including a reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate, which used to stand outside King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace in Babylon. We then went to the East Side Gallery, the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, which has turned into a canvas for graffiti artists. After that, we climbed to the top of the Victory Column to get a bird’s eye view of Berlin, and then took the metro to view Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a church damaged by WW2. Our Airbnb host then took us to a very cool rooftop bar for dinner, which also had a great view of Berlin and had some killer jazz music.
It was a packed trip, and we were pretty exhausted on the train ride to Warsaw. But it was also extremely fun, and made me want to go back to Berlin (and maybe do an internship there!). Now that I’ve done the touristy stuff, next time I go I can really absorb the city.
I’m excited Maryellen is in Warsaw with me, even if only for a short period of time, as my internship is rapidly coming to a close. But for these last couple of weeks, it will be awesome to have a fellow American/Umich student to continue exploring the city with.
Here’s a picture of a peacock Maryellen and I saw in Lazienki Park in Warsaw yesterday:
And here are some photos from Berlin: