This afternoon, I biked home from work, changed quickly, hopped back on my bike, headed to Treptower Park, and embarked on one of the best runs of my life. It helped, of course, that the streak of rain every day ended yesterday, and that today was the first truly beautiful day I’ve had here in Berlin. But even more important was the park itself. I’d jogged there briefly two weekends back, but I managed to miss the bulk of the park.
With a particularly depressing podcast of This American Life serving as a nice foil to the uplifting German life I was leading, I ran through fields and woods; past children climbing jungle gyms and young couples lounging on the grass; past the gigantic memorial to the Russians who triumphed over the Nazis, lined with quotes by Josef Stalin (in Russian on one side and German on the other) and overlooked by a huge and comically glorious statue of a Russian soldier holding a young child in one arm and a sword in the other hand, standing on a crushed swastika; past nude men bathing in the sun; past a serene pond without so much as a ripple; and along the Spree River until I was surprised to find an S-Bahn station and realized I was not at all where I thought I was and had no idea how to get there.
Eventually I got there.
I didn’t have a camera with me, but I do want to give you a sense of how absurd the Russian memorial is, so I’ll ignore a few copyrights and share these with you.
The bird’s-eye view:
The statue itself: