I realize I’ve been neglecting this blog for a few months now and my guilt and boredom finally got the better of me today. Normally I like to write about things soon after they happen as everything is still fresh in my mind and it gives the blog a more lively feel. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to keep up motivation or momentum if something cool happens and you don’t write about it immediately. That’s what’s happen to me with several different things. I have a couple of post ideas floating around in my head, but I wanted to do a little bit of a recap of things I’ve missed out on posting over the last few months.

Perhaps the biggest thing I never got around to talking about was how a couple of old friends from high school came and visited me in Berlin for a week. One friend I had not seen in about 10 years, the other I had not seen since almost 3 years (but before that I had not seen him for 7 years). One guy was backpacking through Europe and heard I was in Berlin and wanted to swing by. When the other guy heard we were getting together he asked to join and flew from the west coast of the US to come hangout for a week.

One friend brought a camera drone with him. Here’s what my apartment looks like from the air:

I also took them out to the Tempelhofer airport here in Berlin and he got a shot of Insa and I:

Both of my friends are also pilots, so it was a very strange feeling for them to be walking on the open runways of an airport without planes landing.

IMG_20150508_151355

Later I took them to an abandoned train station I first visited shortly after coming to Berlin. My friend got to fly around indoors and take some footage. The drone sounds like a swarm of angry bees and I think he scared the crap out of some teenagers who were there getting high when he flew around the corner with it.IMG_20150509_152855 IMG_20150509_160435_1 Surprisingly the crank still works and turns the whole contraption.IMG_20150509_160445 We also stopped by Mauer park where we enjoyed an impromptu dance party.IMG_20150510_175209IMG_20150510_174819

There’s a really great outdoor museum to the Berlin wall near Mauer park. A section of the death strip is still there and you can see what the wall looked like.

IMG_20150503_135637 IMG_20150503_135033 IMG_20150503_135109 IMG_20150503_135115

They have a memorial with pictures of all the people who died trying to escape. Some of them died just months before the wall fell. If they had only know…IMG_20150503_140427

My friends happened to visit during the anniversary of the end of WWII. To my surprise, apparently it’s a big thing for Russians to visit Berlin and celebrate the end of the war and to honor the millions of Russian dead. We were walking around the Reichstag and there were large crowds of people wearing Soviet Union clothing and waving old Soviet flags. More pictures and a news article about them here. From my perspective it felt a little bizarre that you’d show up in someone else’s country to march around their capital and celebrate winning a war, but I get it. We decided to check out the Soviet war memorial here in Berlin since it was all decorated for the occasion. I had never been before and man, do they like big monuments.  The place felt huge and I kept forgetting we were still in the middle of Berlin.IMG_20150510_190335 IMG_20150510_190853 IMG_20150510_191137 IMG_20150510_191250 IMG_20150510_191446

It’s hard to see in the below photo, but the warrior holding the sword and child is standing on the ruins of a destroyed swastika. IMG_20150510_192127 IMG_20150510_192239 IMG_20150510_194126 IMG_20150510_193952

Along the fence of the memorial we noticed all these white sheets of paper. On each page was a name and a date. It was a person who died in the war. Each page also had a drawing from a school child. IMG_20150510_194659

The pages kept going and going without end…IMG_20150510_194625

After about a week the backpacking friend continued on to Amsterdam to meet up with some people and my other friend flew up to Sweden for a weekend just to check the place out before flying back home. I think they had a good time and I enjoyed getting to see them and see how I lives had developed since we last saw each other.