Now that Berlin and I have about a 12 hour relationship, I feel like I can reveal some very preliminary first impressions.
All #SMWReporter coverage at Social Media Week Berlin is brought to you by Nokia. Disclosure: http://cmp.ly/6/RC5QuG - all expenses, including travel and meals are provided by Nokia, as is a Nokia Lumia 1020 to capture the action.
For more event information, visit http://socialmediaweek.org. I'll be posting images and videos at http;//twitter.com/wiredprworks and http://instagram.com/barbararozgonyi. All blog entries will be posted via my iPad; apologies for misspellings and the lack of links and images.
Yes, I Really am in Berlin!!!!
Thanks to Air Berlin, and before that American Airlines, for two practically perfect flights.
I got here on time, but my giant 44 pound suitcase might still be in New York.
That's okay. Not having another change of clothes was a good excuse to snag a $10 dress in my favorite color of blue at H&M.
Thank to Sophie Gratter, of Social Media Week Berlin, and Ryan Thompson, of CrowdCentric.net, for meeting me at the airport. It was cool to ride around in a brand new BMW and I loved Sophie's pick for breakfast. This is my second trip to Europe. Have you been to Berlin?
My European Connection
I am Hungarian and Irish/Scottish. My husband is Hungarian and Czech. That explains my surname, Rozgonyi-Svoboda.
Apologies to the hotel registration clerk who seemed sincerely disappointed that I stopped speaking Hungarian when my grandmother passed away.
However, there was another language that began being spoken in my house: German.
My Uncle Merlin served in World War II; he brought home a German wife, Aunt Gertrude, who taught us German and told us about Germany.
Strangely enough, those early lessons are coming back to me now.
Growing up, Germany was the only European country represented in our house. A German cuckoo clock hung on our kitchen wall. As one of our only authentic European treasures, it had a place of honor.
Since then, the closest I've come to Germany is reading books to discuss with my neighborhood book group.
Because most of the novels are set in a period time warp, I had no current point of reference for what to expect when I got here.
There's deep historic grounding here with an edge towards the future. Sophie, who is a Parisian, told me that Berlin is a very international city. I look forward to exploring and reporting on culture, food - and social media.
I'll admit I'm a bit anxious. If you've ever traveled with me, you know it can sometimes be like watching a comedy routine. That's why i love traveling with my husband.
Being with Bruce is almost flawless. All I have to do is follow his lead. But, for someone who claims she's independent, a little practice in another country alone [first time for everything] is an exciting and welcome challenge.
German street names are not easy to spell, let alone pronounce. Every single one of them sounds so grand and impressive. Thank you, Google maps, for helping me out here.
On my first day in Berlin, I visited the Brandenburg Gate, explored Potsdamer Platz and took in the Luxury for Fashion show at the Kulturforum. Thanks to all who liked the images and videos.
One of the most moving, literally, displays was a group of protesters who marched peacefully, albeit loudly from the Brandenburg Gate to Potsdamer Platz. It's good to see free speech alive and active in Germany.
After my first twelve hours, I am getting oriented and am enjoying wandering the streets, not completely aimlessly, I found my way back to my hotel via public transportation and discovered that, with the help of Berliners, this will be a series of stories I am so looking forward to telling.
More to come . . .