Saturday, May 09, 2009

day 5 - wandering around Berlin

we woke up at noon today
10 hours of sleep
that’s right
count ‘em
i can’t think of the last time i slept 10 hours
today we finally felt like we were truly on vacation
the luxurious Bowie Hotel
fresh laundry
some breakfast of jam in toast in our kitchen
then a walk to the underground station
Jayme wanted to go to an Audrey Hepburn exhibition
that had lots of her old personal belongings
for her this was very exciting
kinda like if I was going to a Lennon exhibit
we spent about an hour and a half there
she got to touch the famous black dress Audrey wore in “Breakfast at T’s”
i noticed the place was 90% women
she was very happy so that made me happy too

afer a quick lunch we took another train to the city center
so we could catch a bus tour
by this time the clouds had completely disappeared
it was sunny and 70
the perfect weather for our trip around the city
we sat on top of an open double-decker bus
Gavin loved it
my video camera even worked for about 15 minutes
our tour guide took a particular interest in our son
and they had some funny back and forth banter with each other
the tour took about 2 hours
i wished the whole time i could make it last a lot longer
it was so relaxing
moving slowly through the bustling city
looking down at all the cars and people scurrying about
the sun kissing our faces with a gentle breeze
while the tour guide’s German English accent set an almost musical tone
Berlin is a beautiful city
with amazing old and new architecture co-existing together
its history is fascinating
and troubling
but now it seems so peaceful
people lounging in parks
walking along the river
riding bikes and eating in outside cafes
it was hard to imagine that not all that long ago
it was the center of unimaginable violence and terror

the tour ended at 6 and it took us about an hour to figure out how to get back to the hotel
i gotta say tour manager Jayme was our fearless leader
she studied the underground map and did all the thinking while her boys did their impersonations of Spongebob’s mentally challenged friend Patrick
we had one funny moment when we thought we were taking an elevator down to the U1 train
when it went one floor down to where we had just been
no train at all
we felt like dumb tourists

our Hotel happened to be only a few blocks away from the infamous
checkpoint Charlie
we walked there around 8 and took some photos
then went into the Charlie museum
it was really interesting and also sad to see how many people suffered at the hands of the oppressive communist regime
all a good reminder of how lucky we are to live in a free society
on the way home we found a quaint Italian bistro
with checked tables Christmas lights and candles
we took a seat outside under some trees
the cool evening air felt great
and the food was incredible
our best meal of the tour so far – by far
if this place was in Dallas it would be some uppity McKinney avenue restaurant
our entire dinner plus desert was only 26 euros
we walked back to the Hotel in some light rain
our 9 hours wandering around Berlin finished
it had been a great day


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