Hello world! During my time in Germany I was lucky enough to travel to the distant reaches of East Germany. Barbara, my host, guide, friend, ally, and translator, drove me from Berlin to Zwickau, to work with IFZW, a crematorium supply maker. I also had the opportunity to interview many of the women who work there, as IFZW hires many women who had no prior technical experience.
This voyage from Berlin to Zwickau provided me with the opportunity to see the east German countryside, and smaller cities outside of the cultural hub that is Berlin. I managed to negotiate (which proved to be simple) with Barbara to take a slight detour to Dresden, which proved to be a wonderful decision. Dresden has a long history being the capital of Saxony. During WWII the Allies firebombed Dresden to the ground, killing over 25,000 civilians. After the war the historic city was rebuilt using old stones blackened by the bombs in order to allow Dresden to be reborn. The buildings now are black and white, old and new, making each building unique. If you are looking for more information about my trip specifically Dresden, please read my blogpost in regards to it (warning: there is lots of political agenda found within).
In Zwickau I stayed at a distillery/brewery/pub/hotel and I did not have one drink OIA! I have really good self control. Still, while at the hotel I found that I was the only English speaker within an estimated 100 meters at all times. This proved to be a problem, as I do not speak any German. My last morning I went to the room where breakfast was supposed to be held, only to find a note neatly written in German. With no one around, I had to Google translate the neatly written note to figure out that breakfast was in another building. I met a kind worker who guided me, nearly by the hand, a block away so I could eat a piece of bread and fish. She spoke many words I have never heard before, and I said “danke” a lot.
I enjoyed Berlin immensely, but seeing Dresden, Chemnitz, and Zwickau gave me a much wider view of Germany. Interacting with those at IFZW also gave me a glimpse into the lives of Germans, even just for a moment. An interesting aspect to my travels is that all the places I traveled were part of the GDR, which adds yet another layer to the story of each location I visited.