We started the morning off with yet another excellent cappuccino from Felix and Nadine. Then, we all drove into Berlin for a day of sightseeing. Today, Nadine had a Plan. This was really nice; it feels like we're constantly organizing what to see next. This weekend, all we had to do was follow along.
Last night, we all talked about what we cared about in Berlin. Today, Nadine had organized our master plan. It looked something like this:
See the Berlin Wall Memorial
Eat currywurst (we're all addicted now) at Felix' favorite place
See the Frida Kahlo exhibit (just Nadine & Tara)
Go for a stroll around Kreuzberg and other cool neighborhoods
At a minimum, pass by the "must see" sights of Berlin, like the Brandenburger Tor
Find a hat (Tara)
Go T-Shirt shopping (Nadine & Felix)
Pick up the stuff we'll need for our road-trip (safety vests, fire extinguisher etc)
Check out a local flea market / meet Nadine's friend working there
Plan in mind, we set off! Felix navigated while I drove us around Berlin in our little red car.
Though we were won over more by the "small town charm" of Munich, we've officially decided Berlin is pretty inviting as well. That makes two big cities in a row which we've really enjoyed, which is quite rare these days. As best I can tell, there are only two constants: they've been in Germany, and we've seen them both with Nadine and Felix. Hmmm.
There are loads of bikes here, restaurants from all over the world, evidence of not-so-ancient history lurking around every corner, plenty of graffiti, lots of museums, and interesting things like this "guerrilla gardening automat", where you can buy little capsules full of seeds to plant.
This afternoon, we went to Konnopke's Imbiss for a spicy currywurst. They've been serving up the delicious fast food for 80 years and it showed. This was easily my favorite so far. Several little fat birds had set up shop near the outdoor seating; one particularly brash one came to visit, and ate all of our leftover crumbs before we left.
Next, we drove to yet another heavy, emotional German site: The Berlin Wall memorial.
This stretch of reconstructed wall clearly shows how the city was divided. Note the extra fences on the Eastern side before the barrier itself. It was common to find land mines, nasty dogs, and automatic guns in this no-mans-land. WTF.
Apart from showing what the wall was actually like, the memorial remembered many who gave their lives to it as well:
Depressing visit #3 complete, we meandered back to the car and drove to our home for the next couple of nights: Ostel: The "Communist Retro" Hostel of Berlin.
Arriving, it felt like we'd time traveled backwards a few decades. Everything from the wallpaper to the stereo to the vases were designed to make us feel we were in the GDR. We settled into our four-person room, rested a bit, then headed out for more food. Sight-seeing is hungry work.
Down one block, Tara exclaimed, "Hey, it smells like Tunisia!" Sure enough, in a few meters there was a north African restaurant serving shawarma style chicken, falafel, pita bread, hot tea, and other tasty things. We all shared two orders of the "house specialties plate": a huge platter with a little bit of everything.
Hunger abated, we went for nighttime walk into Berlin as the sun set.
When we found a lively little bar, we stopped to chat over a beer before heading home to our hostel.
Thank you for coming to see us, guys!