Photos: Berlin, the second half, into the city, onto the streets

The first parts of the trip set a high bar. Munich had its bikes, counts and beer gardens. The opening half of our time in Berlin took us deep into the worlds of the German Chancellery and the Reichstag. But the American-German Young Leader Conference did not run downhill. At the end, the conference headed straight upward, toward Germany’s most newsworthy person of the moment. And karaoke.

But before I explain those details, I need to pause for two notes.

Note one: I never ate lunch or dinner at the restaurant at the Grand Hyatt, our conference hotel. But I did have breakfast there every morning, religiously. If our events hadn’t ended and they hadn’t shipped me back to America on schedule, I would probably still be at the buffet, running from one end to the other, flipping breads and cheeses and fruits high into the air and down into my mouth.

So, I would like to thank everyone involved with that breakfast, be they cooks, conference staff who arranged the breakfasts, or my fellow delegates who sat with me in the early hours, celebrating the experience of waking our guts.

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Note two: I don’t know quite what to call them. My fellow young leaders sounds too fancy. My fellow delegates, too constitutional. Fellow attendees, too bland. So, I’ve settled on “colleagues” for the purposes of these posts. Professional but with an air of maybe going out after work for a bier and a Mercedes-sized pretzel.

Continue reading Photos: Berlin, the second half, into the city, onto the streets

Photos: Berlin, the first half, in the houses of power

After our two fun, introductory and jet-lag-battling days in Munich, we board a gloriously Internet-rich ICE train (Amtrak Internet service, you break my heart) and arrived in downtown Berlin Sunday afternoon. Our American-German Young Leaders Conference kicked off officially that night, and we met our German counterparts — as smart and friendly as the American contingent and, you know, having a hundred times the local-language skills. We also heard from our first speaker, Hella Dunger-Loper, state secretary and representative of Berlin to the federal government, essentially deputy mayor of Berlin.

We were off to the races and never slowed down.

Monday morning, we were out the door at 7:45 and on our way to the Bundestag, the parliament. But before we went, I appreciated the Grand Hyatt hotel art, especially the bear art. The bear is one of Berlin’s symbols, but you should know my love of bears crosses all borders.

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As does my love of Cheerios. Thank you, sixth-floor hotel elevator bank.

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We dressed up all week, not normal for me. But look at this guy! Sharp!

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Anyway, we were off to the Bundestag.

Continue reading Photos: Berlin, the first half, in the houses of power

Photos: Two days in Munich

Oh, hi! Long time no talk. Long time since being home.

This past week, thanks to a nomination from a friend and mentor who’d done the program a few years ago, I was fortunate to be a delegate at the American-German Young Leaders Conference in Germany. The event brings together early-to-mid-career folks from both countries to learn about and discuss transatlantic issues, including communication and technology.

Before moving onto Berlin and the heart of the conference, the trip began in Munich, gathering the American delegates and giving them two days to beat their jet lag and begin to get to know the country and each other.

It was an amazing trip, one I feel very lucky to have done. Another couple posts will capture the Berlin leg of the journey, and the awesome mix of other delegates on the trip. But first, here’s Munich, or at least what I remembered to photograph. I missed lots of good moments, including all moments where one puts down the phone and has good conversation. A fair trade! So, here the moments that did make it to the lens.

We arrived Friday and had a bit of time to explore our neighborhood.

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Continue reading Photos: Two days in Munich