On Thursday, after a arriving at 7:30 back in Zürich and a one hour nap, I groggily set off for a half day of work. I was walking down the surprisingly-orderly cobble stone path. It wasn’t one of those refreshing naps where you wake up energized. It was like I had a sleepy cloud on my back.
I couldn’t help by smile.
I was walking down the sidewalks of Zürich after going to Nairobi and Berlin. In one week I had been in three different countries (four if you count my connection in Turkey) and after 32 hours of commuting, layovers, and flights, I was now back for the second half of my internship in Europe. How did I get so lucky?
I’ll start in the beginning.
I left and arrived on Saturday morning and went directly to the hostel to meet up with my friend Jenny. This was our friendly receptionist, Gustavo.
We mapped out our game plan, combining hers with mine and we were off! We saw the Brandenburg Gate, walked to the Tier Garten to the Siegessäule (Victory Column) in the center. Then we spent a long time at the Jewish Museum. It is an incredible piece of architecture. There are no right angles anywhere in the building. Think about it, not the walls, not the floors, windows, or displays. I was told it was in opposition to the severe right angles that make up a swastika. It’s really about all of Jewish history (not just World War II). It was fascinating and had really innovative displays.
I thought this piece with 10,000 hand-welded faces was really powerful. You could walk over them and they made this eerie metallic echo around the walls.
From there, we wandered over to Checkpoint Charlie and had out first currywurst while we caught a little bit of the World Cup at a public screen. I’m not really a stuff-on-my-stuff person, but I really did like the sauce! Next we shuffled over to the Topography of Terror museum (about the Third Reich, Nationalism, and Nazis) that was especially interesting and well done, though sad of course. We only had a little bit before it closed and then we skittered off to to see the East Side Gallery, which is an outdoor gallery of art done on the remains of the Berlin wall. I was actually kind of disappointed in the quality of the work…but this one was pretty neat.
It was dark and so, after some Belgium waffles, we headed back to the hostel. There was a girl singing and playing the guitar in front of the train station that was really wonderful. She had an amp even so she sounded even more professional. I feel like we’ll pay to hear her sing some day. She wished us all a good life.
The next day we woke up super early to tour the Reichstag building’s sun dome at 8am. Here’s Jenny, being adorable.
Then we passed the Holocaust Memorial (aka the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe”) consisting of 2,711 concrete stelae on a uneven surface. it was really disorienting to walk through them.
Then it was off to the Pergamon, and incredible archeological museum! It’s truly stunning to see these ancient buildings in person.
The Gates of Babylon were my favorite. Look how vivid they are after all these years.
The Pergamon alter (the building’s name sake) was of course also incredible. You felt so small. It was Jenny’s favorite.
This thing. It wasn’t even complete but it was still so beautiful.
Not bad for only 24 tourist hours available, right? Then I went to the airport to make sure I didn’t miss my very important flight to Berlin and then to Nairobi. I had a two hour space between when I land in Zürich and when I had to leave. My flight was their, of course, delayed for 1.5 hours. I landed at a little over ten minutes the gates to my next flight were scheduled to change. I was hot with panic. I could not miss my flight to Nairobi that my office hand generously allowed the intern to go to!!
I ran through the airport, grateful that I had picked up Intermittent Jogging last semester. It was in another terminal and only because their flight was 30 minutes delayed did I make it! I made it in 20 minutes hoping it would be ok that I didn’t have boarding pass. When I got to the desk, baggage was calling the desk asking if I had made it or if they should drop of my luggage. That’s how close it was.
After an overnight flight through Istanbul, I we landed at 8:00 and after getting my bags, getting stuck in Nairobi traffic, we arrived at the hotel at 9:45 and started working at 10:00! Whoof! It was a long day, followed by an intense two more days of working and strategizing, but it was incredible! I learned so much. I got to see the development and co-working of the a team as they move forward in a project, got to learn about our mission so thoroughly, and met so many amazing people. One thing about where I work that I’ve found to be true is that everyone I’ve met at Google has been so talented. I’ve yet to meet someone who was a ‘weak link.’ Rather, only people who have a different flavor of interesting and skilled. It was inspiring to work with them.
That said, we didn’t get to actually see a lot of Nairobi since we were in a luxury work bubble the whole time. I didn’t even get a mosquito bite! The closest I came was seeing a bunch of enormous marabou along the road one our way to the hotel.
Until next time, faithful reader.