Jun 16 2009

Raining in Dresden

by at 10:41 am

You may remember that this week is Seth Talks at Conferences Week. Tomorrow is his big day at ICC09 in Dresden (talking communications research from a summer at Harvey Mudd) and Thursday he’s on in Paris at DD4D (talking about cityrank).

And I tagged along, at least to the Germany part. We spent the weekend in Berlin, meeting up with a couple of friends from Harvard, and have been in Dresden since Sunday night. Tomorrow night Seth flies to Paris, while I continue on to Leipzig. I’ll get Paris in July.

So, since Seth has been attempting to attend at least a few talks at ICC09, even though he basically has no clue what’s going on, I have been spending some amount of time trying to be a tourist on my own.  Which has reminded me that it is not much fun to sightsee alone.  It doesn’t help that it is muggy and rainy in Dresden.  Rather than forcing myself to see another church or museum, I am thus hanging around in the slightly run-down, space-age hotel waiting for Seth to give up on attempting to stay awake at today’s conference proceedings.

We have been eating a LOT here.  Not only has Germany became very vegetarian friendly, but food is not that expensive, and it is ACTUALLY GOOD.  Thai food, Indian food, vegetarian restaurant food, Mexican food (this was weird, I must admit, but that is what happens when you go with a group of people you’ve just met at a conference), cakes, soft drinks, gelatin-free gummy bears and lactose-free stroopwafels…

We got two days of nice weather in Berlin, and one day of very cold and rainy weather.  We visited the major sites along with eating, Jeremy sometimes accompanying (he is in Berlin for the summer doing linguistics research and practicing his German).  We went to Shabbat services at a Reform synagogue, where we met up with my one classmate from Yiddish last year, Anya, who grew up in East Berlin.  We marveled at the amazing new architectural specimens and the disruptions to normal growth that were so obviously experienced by this city in its recent past.  We watched sunset from the glass-domed roof of the German parliament.  I struggled to transform spoken Yiddish into something that sounded more like German, and Jeremy reprimanded me for my informal way of speaking, which apparently does not work in German.  We stayed in a wonderful B&B called Pension Elefant, in a gay neighborhood of West Berlin.  We bought a wooden bookstand for 10 Euros.

Lonely Planet compares Dresden to  Florence, but I don’t really get it.  Something to do with a shared Renaissance/Baroque history, but this place is not the city where Michelle and I spent a few days in February.  Despite guidebook promise of a sparkling, restored city, it is a bit run down/in the process of being reconstructed.  Not surprising considering it was in East Germany.  There are big, blackened monumental buildings near our hotel in the Old City (now the newer part, since it was flattened in WWII), which we’ll explore this afternoon, and shop-filled streets in the New City, which we walked through yesterday.  Said shop-filled streets included a dairy shop outfitted in handpainted Villeroy&Bach tiles, where I ate a cheese-and-bread sandwhich that had so much cheese on it I thought I’d have a heart attack by the end of it.  But I’m still here.

Seth just came back to the hotel.  Guess it didn’t take long for him to get bored.  More later, with pictures!

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Raining in Dresden”

  1. Alexon 16 Jun 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Berlin is great. I never got to Dresden. Did you see the Berlin Holocaust memorial? It’s pretty powerful.

    Also, don’t let those snobby German speakers hate on your Yiddish.

  2. Jeremyon 17 Jun 2009 at 8:13 am

    It’s not snobbishness — it’s the fact that Yiddish pronouns can actually make German speakers think you’re trying to be rude to them.

  3. Mary Ellen Stebbinson 20 Jun 2009 at 7:08 pm

    you got to see jeremy? JEALOUS!

  4. Jeremyon 20 Jun 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I’m actually Jeremy Aron-Dine, not Jeremy Lin. I’ve seen Jeremy Lin, but Jackie and Seth didn’t (at least, not that I know of).

  5. Jackieon 20 Jun 2009 at 8:07 pm

    The confusion of two Jeremys. I have zillions of friends in common with the other Jeremy, but don’t actually know him myself, which seems unfortunate.

    Also, German speakers were not hating on my Yiddish—Jeremy was. But that’s ok; my German really wasn’t so good…it was like trying to speak French with a Spanish accent when in Spain or Costa Rica. As in it kind of works but also, it’s a different language so sometimes a little Hebrew comes out or a medieval German pronoun.

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