The BERLIN Blog 2006

  by John Freeman, University of Florida
Study-Abroad Journalism Class, May 2006


This journal is to show a few photos of students and activities from May 11 to May 25. I'm here with 15 students from UF scouring Germany's capital city of 3.4 million looking for a wide range of stories. We'll post a website of student work later in the summer. Want to send a note? Write to me at:


See a YouTube video of musicians at the hotel


*(Editor’s Note: The new photos are sharp…in an effort to upload the blog, Jarrett screwed up the resolution…) *


I put together a long day heading out west to get away from the same areas we seemed to revisit. We started toward the Wannsee lake and had an adventure on the train. Because the undercover inspector said our tickets had expired (I counted seven days, he said eight), we were booted off and had to buy new tickets from a machine, which first ate 120 euros ($150) and gave me a voucher redeemable the next week. We pooled money and went on to have a fun lunch, a lazy bus ride through the Grunewald woods, and several of us (Julie Anne, Lyndsey, Andrew, Jarrett and I) did a quick tour of the 1936 Olympic stadium, site of the World Cup soccer finals on July 9th.




That evening I came across Jenna and Anjali having a quiet dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant down the street from the hotel.


The weather has played tricks since we got here, ranging from warm on the first couple days to cool and rainy today. At least it provides some variety to photographs. This is near Hackescher Markt, where a courtyard is full of outdoor cafes.


John MacDougall, a staff photographer with AFP, volunteered to meet with our group in the breakfast room of the hotel. He talked about all of the building, renovation and general excitement around Berlin that is connected to the World Cup soccer games which start in Germany June 9.




Walking near Alexanderplatz tonight, I came to a wild store front window lit by bright red lights (“Hugo”). High fashion and adventurous architecture are part of the Berlin scene.


After a day of starting on projects and shooting singles, we took in a cultural event in the evening, a first-class, New York style musical revue. I asked a passerby in the Hackescher Markt train station to shoot a group photo on our way to the performance. Anjali had to wolf down another Doner Kebab.



We traveled near the Friedrichstrasse S-Bahn today and had a productive meeting with Andrew Purvis, TIME magazine's Berlin writer. He offered advice on story ideas for two hours and graciously welcomed the group. Unfortunately my laptop died that night, and with it, the photos.



Today included about 5 or 6 miles of walking on the Discover Berlin Walking Tour. It was a concise way for students to get the history of Berlin while many of the places and buildings were in front of them. At the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe near Brandenburg Gate, I found a man wandering among the 2,711 pillars with his tiny dog. Germans love their pets.


After the tour, Jeremiah, Jarrett and I went searching for a sausage place that had been recommended to us. But with construction issues causing a detour on the U-Bahn and too many choices, we never found the right place. Jarrett did find a couple kissing for a feature we're doing about the public displays of affection that are omnipresent. Ever the journalist, Jarrett even got their names for the caption.


At the Unknown Soldier Memorial, Tim and Krissy got creative with angles.


Our group of 15 headed out on something new this year--a bike tour into the former eastern sector. Jessica, Andrew, Jenna and Jeremiah spun around a few times before Enda, our tour guide led us to Treptower Park. Along the way, we got rained on, had a great riverside lunch, and saw Soviet architecture. The six hours of wonderful fun came from Fat Tire Bike Shop at the base of the TV Tower.



It took a while to gather up everyone and get from Tegel airport to the hotel. Julie Anne, Kristen and Laura got here on their own. Jessica’s luggage didn’t make it, though; it went to Frankfurt last she heard. Jarrett started on his photo project from the airport—he headed out on a bus, then the U-Bahn, to find Olympic Stadium. Friday was unusually warm, which didn’t help after an overnight flight that didn’t lead to much sleep for most of us. But by 6 p.m., everyone was in good spirits as we walked 30 minutes to Prater, a legendary Berlin beer garden, for Bratwurst, giant pretzels and beverages. That's Beth at left.


Many visitors are surprised by the vast amounts of greenery in Berlin. The weather is wonderful, in the high 70s, perfect for this volleyball game near the Marienkirche at Alexanderplatz.



At the Newark airport I met up with Beth, Andrew, Lyndsey, Krissy and Jarrett. We all flew on Continental directly to Berlin. At the airport, a reflection of windows upon glass dividers near arriving passengers let me try out my new Canon SD500 point-and-shoot camera.

John Freeman Faculty Homepage