Guten Morgan alles,
Nancy and I have started another adventure and hope you will enjoy joining us vicariously on the haunt.
We are in Berlin now having arrived a few days ago. What a beautiful and vibrant place! Much more diverse than we expected. We are hearing many languages and seeing people from all over the world. Not just tourists either but residents too. Very nice to see when you consider the not so distant past.
We rented an apartment in the Schöneberg neighborhood right around the corner from the KaDeWe department store which all by itself is worth the trip to Berlin. What an amazing place. The 1st 5 floors are full of general merchandise but we think they are only there to hold up the top two floors – food heaven. 6th floor is groceries + munching counters, cheese at one, potatoes at another, finned fish, shell fish (with a separate one for oysters – Austern), bouillabaisse, sushi, lobster but the sausage counter is the wurst (sorry, a little German humor there).
Not only is it all delicious but the displays are mouthwatering.
Sorry to say, we cannot go back Sunday or Monday as they are closed. All Sundays and holidays- Monday is Pentecost Monday orWhit Monday. Can you imagine US retailers not open when everyone else is out and about and ready to spend? Oh well, when in Roma…
But I’m ahead of myself here. I’ll start at the beginning of Berlin time.
We spent our first full day here walking 3 miles to the start point of Rick Steves’ best of Berlin self guided tour. We had downloaded his audio commentary onto our phones and walked along using it. A nice way to see the city as we took our own darn sweet time. This included pauses for lunch and coffee and munchies. A nice way, indeed to perambulate around the city.
We saw many of the old and new highlights:
Brandenburg Tor (Gate), Trabant stretch limo, Vespa riders, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, self contained wurst portable kitchen, selfie in the Reichstag dome, some knucklehead jumping off a perfectly good building, more dome shots , a sobering memorial to the unknown soldier and victim of hitler, river Spree sightseeing boat with only two passengers as the day was not as pleasant as the rest of the time here (so far), and Nancy with Marx and Engels (she did go to Cal, you know).
At the end of a very long day of walking, we went back to our digs and found a Schnitzeleria. Yum, bloody yum. I’ve always loved weiner schnitzel.
Throughout the city (Frankfurt too) there are these little brass plaques in the sidewalk
These are commemorations to murdered Jews who lived in the houses right there.
The picture below is of another memorial. This one represents all the members of the Bundestag (parliament) who voted against hitler when he took over as president and chancellor – everyone who voted against him were dead within months .
Waking around Berlin is a feast for the eyes, history buffs absolutely go nuts. The very sobering flip side of the coin is the number of lives lost to make this fascinating history. Other reminders of the past is bullet holes in buildings
And a bombed out church that has not been rebuilt
(By the way, there is an amazing chocolatier called Rausch that has rendered the church in guess what…)
So, Saturday was a day for Nancy. She was thrilled to be only 1 time zone away from the Royal Wedding so she did not have to get up at 4am to watch it. I had googled places in town to watch it and a surprisingly large number of pubs came up including Irish ones. I very much doubted the Irish cared a hoot for the English royals so I found a British pub and we trained and walked across town to the Rizz. They had huge crowds inside and out, two big screen TVs and this fellow:
Yup, those of you in the know, recognize this Herr, but for those of you who don’t, please let me introduce you to my youngest sibling, Matt. Yup again, he made the long trek from Northern California to surprise me for my birthday- of course my bride was in on it! ( this actually happens frequently in the Fleck family). She even arranged for him to bump into us at the wedding- I’m so glad he was there so I didn’t have to watch the bloody ceremony.
We could not find a seat with a view of the tv but we had a view of the crowd – there was even a tv crew taping the scene – sheesh!
After the torturous 2 hours had just flown by, we found a humongous festival happening not too far away – the Karnaval of Kulturen. Food and crafts and music and drinks from all over the planet. I ate Ghanaian food for the first time (just between you and me, it isn’t much different from Togoian cuisine).
After that, we found a brewery called BRŁO and besides excellent beers (including west coast style IPA) the whole place is built from 38 shipping containers. Talk about recycling!
On my actual birthday, I received lots of congratulatory emails – thanks!
We decided to do a bike tour with 13 of our new best friends. This 3 hr tour (cue Gilligan) took about 6 including a lunch break at a bier garten. What a hoot and how nice this is a flat city.
There was even an alt right demonstration at the Brandenburg gate. Hmmm, they have those kooks here too!
What a fun way to spend my birthday with my favorite current wife and one of my top 4 siblings. (Wonder what the next big one will bring?).
Probably not birthday strudel
We had such a good time at the Karnaval, we went back on Monday as it was a holiday- Pentecost Monday and a return to the brewery. We did tons of walking @30,000 steps each), and of course we needed foot massages!
I think I’ll just walk down the street with open beers and drink from them both.
Well, my friends, little Matt left us today and is having a dickens of a time getting home. Delay outta Berlin, missed connection in Barcelona and will get home at least a day late. I told him to stay here but kids these days – ya can’t tell them anything! . At least he is ‘stuck’ in a good place.
Nancy and I moped around all day missing him including a stop at Ritter Sport’s chocolate factory and retail store.
They have a pretty cool aquarium here where there is an elevator going through a vertical tank!
That’s all the new that is news so I shall say Aufwedersein for now. Off to Potsdam tomorrow.
Chris & Nancy