Let’s MEAT Berlin
It is time for the third edition of the delaware software study trip! Once again, 22 students from different universities across Belgium come together for a fun and interesting week in one of the tech hubs of Europe. Before we could really team up for the various challenges that the delaware experts had in mind for us, we first took some time to get to know each other and our host city, this with the help of our favourite kind of food: lots of meat!
Berlin, the city of the past, the present and the future
Berlin is not only a major tech hub of Europe, it also has a rich and intense history. We discovered this rich history during our first (slightly rainy) morning. A local guide, who experienced the city as a West Berliner before, during and after the Cold War, was kind enough to tell us his story. Most of us know how Berlin was heavily bombed and invaded by the Soviet forces and how afterwards the city was literally divided. But only real Berliners can explain how it actually was to live under the different regimes. There existed for example different checkpoints for different types of people, checkpoint Charlie being arguably the most famous one. If you wanted to cross the border to East Berlin you had to trade 25 West German Mark for 25 East German Mark (which had 10 times less value). When you returned to West Berlin, you had to drop the remaining amount of your East German Marks into dedicated bins as no East German Mark was allowed to leave the country. It was such forms of little stories that made this an interesting tour. So definitely look for a local guide with similar experiences if you like stories with such small but significant details!
Escaping with and without virtual reality
What is a better way to improve the group dynamic after a monstrous meaty lunch than to get together and play some games? That’s exactly what happened as we challenged ourselves with some of Berlin’s most famous escape rooms. As one group got the privilege of attempting to escape using the magic that is virtual reality, the others had to do it the old fashioned way. Game of crowns, one of the non-VR games, consisted of two teams competing against each other trying to escape the fastest and retrieving the crown to claim the title of king. The entire session was intense and things were very close as the losing group lost by only eleven seconds! Another group had to escape a highly reinforced bus.
As soon as the sun sets, Berlin’s famous nightlife starts to awake. We started our night in Hofbräu Wirtshaus Berlin, a traditional German restaurant with dirndls, lederhosen, maßkrugs and German classics played by a live band. An extended and tasty snack board was served with different kinds of sausages, which turned out to be only the starter! A giant meat platter full of giant chicken knuckles, roasted pork, grilled sausages, vegetables and potatoes quickly followed. More food should be accompanied with more beer, which is equivalent to more ‘prosits der gemütlichkeit’ and that ‘gemütlichkeit’ resulted in a fun evening with singing and even dancing with the coverband. From all the singing, more plans for the night (which may or may not involve a karaoke bar) came up. But there is one golden rule in the Berlin nightlife: what happens in Berlin, stays in Berlin…
By Nathaniel Joos (1st Master Computer Science), Diederik Pattyn (2nd Master Computer Science Engineering), Bruno Willems (2nd Master Computer Science Engineering)