Our (Likely) Farewell Ride On The City Night Line Trains

We’ve taken about half a dozen night trains during our two years of travel, and they are definitely one of my favorite modes of transportation: lower carbon footprint than flying, no need to try to entertain a child during a daytime long-haul ride, and a pleasant sense of adventure inspired by the slight sway of the carriage.

Our trip from Zurich to Berlin was our third experience on the efficient and comfortable City Night Line trains, which Deutsch Bahn seems to be in the process of phasing out. (If this makes you sad too, you can sign a petition.)


Even More Exciting Than Lemonade!

Brian and I were walking through Kreuzburg, looking for lunch, when we saw some elementary school students selling chard, zucchini, and cucumbers from a stoop. I don’t think I’ve seen chard for sale for months – we certainly haven’t eaten it for a while – so I was pretty excited.


(Yes, I’m a vegetable nerd. In case you are too: chard is excellent when braised with olive oil, onions, garlic, and some vegetable broth, and then served it over pasta.)


No Society Is Immune

Over the weekend, I went on a walking tour with Refugee Voices Tours Berlin, led by a man from Syria with refugee status in Germany. During the tour, we visited a series of historical sites in Berlin. At each landmark, our guide would first briefly describe the German history related to the spot, and then draw parallels to similar types of events in Syria, from government-led massacres in the 1980s up through its present-day, devastating civil war.

We visited a number of sites, including the best known crossing point of the Berlin wall and the site of former Nazi central institutions. Learning about Syria at these sites grounded the point: no society is immune to political violence, turbulence, and fear. Offering shelter, and being sheltered, is an ongoing cycle in which we swap roles depending on the current state of the world. Continue reading “No Society Is Immune”


Mauer park (literally, “wall park”) is located in part of the former death strip of the Berlin Wall that divided the East and West. Now, it’s a lovely open space, home to a famous flea market and weekly karaoke.


I have to say, that this policy from the park website seems very in-line with what I know of Berlin:

The wall near the swings is part of the former Hinterlandmauer of the Berlin Wall that separated Berlin. It is an official monument.

Creative engagement with our history, however, fits well with the spirit of Mauerpark: therefore, graffiti from the side of the park is permitted.

Please remember: Spray cans belong with the hazardous waste! So spray first, then clean up!

I paraphrase: History is important, but it’s also something we are grappling with – and making – today. But seriously. Don’t put the spray cans in the wrong bin.


A Weekend of Food

Since arriving in Berlin, we haven’t consumed so much in the way of what might be considered traditional German food. However, to celebrate the fact that Berlin is a diverse, international city, we’ve been sampling tasty, interesting food from all around the world.

This weekend was full of tasty, interesting food.

On Saturday, I was one of several cooks at Über den Tellerrand‘s 50 Shades of Salad, one of the organization’s many events to promote cultural exchange. I made pasta salad with caramelized fennel/onions, sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas, and parsley, a salad-ish combination that seemed reasonably “American.” Other cooks made salads from from Iran, Italy, Syria, and Japan.

IMG_4006 IMG_4009 Continue reading “A Weekend of Food”