June 10: German foreign policy and Mezzo mix

Today included a visit to the Reichstag, the German parliament building. You think it's hard to keep up with the Democrats and the Republicans? There are five parties represented here. The beautiful baroque building is fully modernized on the inside, making for a unique juxtaposition of architectural styles. This is because the structure was heavily damaged in a suspicious fire in 1933, further damaged in World War II, and never fully restored until after German reunification in 1990. Preserved on the walls are the signatures and notes of Soviet soldiers who occupied the building. It reopened to Parliament in 1999. The glass dome on top offers an amazing 360-degree view of Berlin.

Our day concluded with a discussion on German foreign policy at the Federal Academy for Security Policy. Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp is the director of studies, and previously led the NATO Defense College. He talked candidly about Germany's involvement in the Libya crisis and the current Ukraine crisis. He also spoke of the importance of a solid relationship between the US and Europe.

It's unusually warm here in Berlin ... the temperature has been hovering around 90 degrees during the day. Feels like south Louisiana! But there's one HUGE difference: air conditioning is a rare luxury here (they simply wouldn't use it enough). Even my hotel room is not equipped, so I'm still sweating as I write this at 11 pm.

Many of my Euros have gone to water and Mezzo Mix, an amazing drink you can recreate. It's simply Coke and orange Fanta mixed half and half. I get weird looks when I order this back home, but you should try it. Your life will never be the same!​