Berlin Calling: Day 1 of the Seminar

In support of our pages on the internet and to give new Jeffers or symphatizers a chance to get to know more about JEF seminars, I’ll be posting a couple articles here about the JEF Berlin Seminar. Not an easy job I guess, certainly not because there’s not much time and so much happens. So I ‘ll be brief and focus on the highlights.

My first impression of Berlin wasn’t very exciting. I landed in Schönefeld airport, which is on the outskirts of Berlin. In the train station I found a first coparticipant, the lovely Iohanna, who got me on the right train through the grey and lonesome suburbs. However as soon as I passed my fist S-Bahn stop, Berlin was calling. Like in the song of Paul Kalkbrenner, with the little S-Bahn music, the German experience really hit me in earnest. On arrival I was confronted with a lot of German Gründlichheid and hospitality. Not an easy combination to fill in different forms while hugging, but a very nice beginning may I say so.

Besides some unpacking we didn’t do a lot of important things the first day. I made a little trip to Alexanderplatz which is in a real nice nostalgic sovjetstyle square. Just like our hostel, “das DDR Ostel”! In the evening the seminar took off for real with the traditional International Evening. First we all got introduced to the big German delegetation, with numerous promises of the vice-president of JEF Germany we soon would get drunk as tradition demands. Although the German contribution was on the small side, the Austrians (Super Merete), Belgians and Greek certainly saved the evening with a handsome  catch of booze. Although Greece and Austria had the strongest drinks, the Belgian chocolate and vanilla jenever we’re very much appreciated.

After all the booze and food was happily consumed some off us went for a small late night exploring trip. Our little tour brought us to the last pieces of the famous Berlin Wall, or so I was told by our gracious guide, Martin. With a little help of my friends I successfully climbed the wall to escape to West-Berlin, alas on the other side of the wall there was a big river. To compensate for our failed breakout we drank some last beers in a bar and made new plans to escape East-Berlin….