There was a great “Where” magazine at the hotel (we have them in the states, yes?) that listed a whole bunch of things happening in Berlin during the month of September, so we decided to do a few. We boarded the U-Bahn (subway) to an open-air art show taking place under a pretty, old Berlin bridge. We watched a rock band, some acoustic singers, a New Orleans style jazz band (the sax player was from Rhode Island) and looked at paintings and sculpture and this cool duct tape art on the street. We saw more of the Berlin Wall and walked along the river. Next, our plan was to visit the Berlin Circus Festival held at the Nazi-era airport, now a park. It started raining, so we decided to have lunch and wait it out in a middle eastern restaurant. When the rain let up, we got on the S-Bahn (elevated train) for Tempelhof Feld. We walked and walked, then boarded a bus, got off where we thought we should. No visible circus, but there was minigolf! So we did that instead. The clouds got darker and darker; we finished our game and walked toward the bus stop, watched an inning of the Berlin Braves (Demetri was recruited to play, but couldn’t because he wasn’t a city resident) and got back on the bus in a downpour. Riding the city bus is a trick we learned from Rick Steves in ’08 when we visited Paris. We transferred to another bus and walked back to our hotel along the Spree (river). After 10 weeks of being in Europe, we still forget that cities essentially close on Sundays. We squeezed into a Thai restaurant just as they were closing.
I had many years of German in high school and college, and I should know more than I do. I used it a bit here but had to laugh because when I would ask or order something in German, everyone answered me in English.
After breakfast on Day Three, we took the S-Bahn to Nikolaiviertel, one of the city’s oldest quarters. It had cobblestone, curvy streets, big trees and lovely old buildings. We walked past the famous tv tower in Alexanderplatz, and had a coffee and played some chess in a café. Then we boarded the #100 city bus to sightsee above ground. Peter was apoplectic that it was a double decker, as the bus approached he screamed as if he won the lottery. The 100 took us along a route where we saw the highlights of Berlin – the Reichstag Building, the current federal building where the Chancellor’s office is, the victory column, Museum island, Tiergarten Park, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Church, which is still damaged and a reminder of the war. Our last stop was the Zoo Garden station. We walked, window shopped, ate and played in a little park called Los Angeles Platz. We decided to take the S-Bahn back to our ‘hood to see the city from a different above-ground vantage point. We exited at the Markthöische station, an market building now filled with restaurants, bars and cafes. We stopped for dinner in a restaurant that’s been there since 1840. They served schnitzel with chanterelles (and many other things), slices of meatloaf between pretzel halves, spetzelkäse and cold, delicious Warsteiner. Our last half day we spent swimming in the hotel pool, drawing and playing. We ducked into a beautiful chocolate shop on our way to the airport train for a gift for Papou, who will surely be waiting at the Athens airport for us.
3.75 days wasn’t enough for Berlin, but it was a great introduction to the city and we have a list of things to do and see when we come back. It’s a fabulous city. Auf wiedersehen Berlin. Wir lieben Sie.