Late Post: Brandenburger Tor

During Paul Veigl weekend visit in Potsdam. We walked through Berlin and visited Potsdam to catch drinks.

Paul is a good friend of mine whom I met in South Africa during his one year voluntary visit at Kliptown Youth Program (KYP). He was also teaching me German at an A1 level.

We have ever since being good friends, exchanging thoughts about various topics such as politics, university, life, history and all that is in between.

These pictures reflect and remind me of his visit and stop at Brandenburger Tor (to read more),  is a structure in Berlin, Germany. It is the only remaining gate through which people used to enter Berlin. It was built between 1788 and 1791. It is located between the Platz des 18. März and the Pariser Platz. Nearby to the north is the Reichstag building. During the Cold War, the Reichstag was in West Berlin, and the Brandenburger Tor in East Berlin (Wikipedia).

There is more to see. Berlin is an ideal place to stay in.

Feature image credit: creative commons/ Wikipedia

 

TRY TOUCHING THE CLOUDS, ITS POSSIBLE: THE BROCKEN

Wandrers Nachtlied

Über allen Gipfeln

Ist Ruh,

In allen Wipfeln

Spürest du

Kaum einen Hauch;

Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.

Warte nur, balde

Ruhest du auch

-Johann Wolfgang Goethe

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Mountains. Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.

On Saturday morning, the 1st of October, we set ourselves for a long weekend excursion. This was my second weekend, with which the first I was having a Hamburg extravaganza. My host family took me along to a trip they were to meet four of their family friends. To put well in picture: a stop in forests, a 2 nights, 3 days stay in a forest/mountain hostel, with lots of food, wearing warm, eating together and endless chats.

I have learnt so much in that space, given that I now enjoy listening to how German speaking people. To some extent, I am picking up a lot of vocabulary and  a real sense of how sentences are constructed. I have found this really incredible.

So much eye opening things. I am happy to say, in South Africa I do not really have a life. By this, I mean that I have put my devotions on other things such as my first two degrees, journalism and getting my work out there, humanitarian work and activism. These are my interests and my life has evolved around them that going our looked impossible. I found these devotions my kind of fun. Although I still went out and did other things, I have found my chosen focuses really worth the time. But, perhaps with this kind of routines, one can miss out on a few other things. And, end up having so many I have never done this before lists. This is never a problem because there is every time for every purpose. I am happy to have been here in the time and the right place.

We were at a place called Harz National Park. The intention there was to go to the Brocken, which we did on Sunday. Broken, according to Wikipedia,  the Brocken is also referred to as the Blocksberg. This is the highest peak of the Harz mountain range and also the highest peak of Northern Germany; it is located near Schierke in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt between the rivers Wesser and Elbe. Although its elevation of 1,141 metres (3,743 ft) is below dimensions, its microclimate resembles that of mountains of about 2,000 m (6,600 ft). The peak above the tree line tends to have a snow cover from September to May, and mists and fogs shroud it up to 300 days of the year. The mean annual temperature is only 2.9 degrees Celsius. It is the easternmost mountain in northern Germany; travelling east in a straight line, the next prominent elevation would be in the Ural Mountains in Russia.

It is a lit place.

MY HIGHLIGHTS ABOUT THE BROCKEN:

  1. Lessons from my host father

Before we wont on this excursion, Friedemann schooled me about Harz, especially its mountain peak. He winded back history, telling me that the mountain we are going to is where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe climbed when he was in his early 20´s, visiting again at the age of 81. Herr Goethe was a German writer and statesman, and penned work including epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. He penned a poem above titled Wandrers Nachtlied and also chanted it up on the same mountain. This time, Friedemann was the one chanting this very poem. I found the whole set up worth it.

This was a clear picture painted moment.

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2. The nature

There is nothing incredibly refreshing as the smell of the forest and seeing trees reacting to the changing weather, walking up and down all dressed up because its very cold up the mountain. This might be the case but a good long walk heats the body back to its normal state.

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3. Meeting new people and getting to know my host family

On this note, I really want to put a focus on my host family……..

I grew up in a family which literally accommodated different people. My grandmother for a long time was a foster parent, taking care of children from different circumstances. I know how it feels to be taken good care off and what it takes to make such efforts. Although I am not one of those kids and have never underwent any similar pathways, one similar thing I share with all those amazing kids is that I am welcome in a family I do not know nor related to. But the feeling is mutual. I feel like I have always known them. They have sought to make me part of the family and I embrace these new beginnings. I will be forever  be grateful.

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Special waves all the way from Harz from my host parents during our pause after some 2 hours or so of walking from top of Brocken back to Schierke Station were we took a steam train going up the mountain peak.

 I now know how it feels to be hosted, to be new in town, and exposed to some new things but most importantly, to be a part of another family. My life will never ever be the same.