Holiday Weekend in Germany by Jacob

Mayeesha and I have decided to write about different things this time, so make sure to read both posts! She is going to discuss our lab work and provide updates on our research. I’m going to talk about our weekend.

After work on Friday, we went out with some of the other scientists. We went to a nearby restaurant and got flammkuchen (direct translation: flame cakes), these weird, flat German cream-cheese pizzas. While we ate, I got a chance to talk to some of the scientists I hadn’t met before. I really like the staff here. They’re all so funny. Afterwards, we went to a cafe in downtown Potsdam to get dessert.

We slept in late Saturday morning. I went on a run through some of the parks in the city. Potsdam is thirty percent parks and forests and thirty percent lakes and rivers, so the running trails are beautiful and plentiful. In the afternoon, we went to Sanssouci Park, the summer palace of Frederick the Great. It was very touristy, but very fun. We explored the gardens, which are incredibly elaborate and pretty. I love that in Germany most people keep their dogs off leash, so there are always dogs running around with which you can play. We also went grocery shopping. Most places are closed Sundays and holidays, so we had to make sure we bought enough food for the rest of the weekend.

Fitting in with the statues at Sanssouci Park

Fitting in with the statues at Sanssouci Park

Neues Palais in Sanssouci, built from 1763-1769 was a place to receive royal guests for Frederick the Great.

Neues Palais in Sanssouci, built from 1763-1769 was a place to receive royal guests for Frederick the Great.

Sunday, we went into Berlin to see a parade for the karneval der kulturen. The floats were pretty cool, with music and dancing and some crazy costumes. Interestingly, each float had a long rope around it held up by a group of people that walked with the float.

Note the people holding up a rope around the upcoming float!

Note the people holding up a rope around the upcoming float!

It was a long and slow parade though, so I explored the neighborhood after a while. I bought some bratwurst, which was delicious and the most German food I’ve had so far. After we all tired of the parade and the 1.3 million people attending it (!), we walked through a large park (Volkspark Hasenheide) south of the parade for a while. It was very busy and had a full carnival with rides and lots of sugary food. Then, Heather and Mayeesha went back to Potsdam, while I stayed and wandered around the city a little more. I wasn’t able to find any of the sites I wanted though, so I’m going to go back next weekend with a better plan. I especially want to see the Reichstag and the Holocaust Memorial.

My trip back to Potsdam was uneventful until I had to use the bathroom. The only bathroom in the train station cost one euro, which is ridiculous. I wasn’t about to pay to use a bathroom, so I jumped the turnstile. That set off an alarm, so I ran and hid in a stall. A security guard came in and tromped up and down in his heavy boots, looking for me, while I crouched on top of the toilet seat, so he couldn’t see my feet under the door. It was pretty scary. Luckily, my hiding place was too good and I was able to escape, without spending my hard-earned euro.

We had Monday off for some unknown German holiday. Heather and Mayeesha had work to do, so they mostly hung around the hotel. I went on a long run in the morning, leaving Potsdam and running through the farms in the surrounding countryside. I ran probably around 15 miles, so I was pretty tired and spent the rest of the day eating and napping. Heather was working on a paper, which she finished, so we celebrated by eating nachos. We feel rested and recharged, and are excited to continue our project and our adventure!

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