Saturday and another day begins in Berlin. We had breakfast at Uschi & Harald’s apartment though Harald was at work - he works for DHL and works 6 days a week. The breakfast table was set with multitudes of food such as cereal, bread, brotchen, cheeses and sausages of varying types, fruit, juice, coffee, tea. If you ask me, my measly breakfast at home of Cheerios and juice pales in comparison. I was also impressed with the various serving utensils with different size spoons for various food items, tiny forks, tiny spoons, etc. German people obviously spend much time with their meals making them a leisurely event. Maybe a bit healthier, too, than our eating quickly and out the door for work.
Following breakfast, the three of us started out on a walking tour of the area around their apartment complex along with their dog, Kira. There is a huge area just a few steps from their apartments that contains a lovely walking park for people and pets and we walked through this area leisurely for maybe 1 hour. Saw many people walking dogs and the dogs all seemed to know each other or WANT to know each other. I took many pictures in this walking park but for some reason some did not turn out. The two that did will show some of the sites I saw.
Following the walking tour, we headed back to the apartments and Uschi began making the dinner which is the noontime meal and Gerhard and I went back to his apartment to visit and to view some of his many photos. Following this we met at Uschi’s for dinner of sauerbraten and potatoes which were very good. I had never had this before but I have never tried a variety of foods so this was new to me.
After the dinner, we decided to take the S-Bahn a little further to the ‘old’ part of Marzahn. A short walk to the S-Bahn and the train appeared. It wasn’t very far and we were in the old part of Marzahn where Gerhard showed me some of the former homes he has lived in; these streets were cobblestone and lined with trees, flowers (still blooming for mid-October), parks and very old, historic homes. Outside of this area was another park with a huge windmill.
After finishing this tour, we continued to walk through the town to a large area of shops, most of which are not open on Saturday. There were many outside vendors, though, who were. It is amazing the amount of outside vendors that sell a multitude of items from toys, linen, clothes to even food and meat. Everything is so relaxed and “laid back” in this small section of Berlin. Gerhard and Uschi were talking about showing me their Eastgate Mall which was just a short distance away. I was amused by that as in Roseville, MI, near the area of East Detroit where I grew up, was a shopping strip mall called Eastgate Center with a few stores – K-Mart, shoe store, Ace Hardware but not a strip mall to “write home about”. I told Uschi & Gerhard about MY Eastgate Center and they insisted I had to see THEIR Eastgate Mall.
This was a sight to behold and on the order of the huge malls in the US – several floors of a multitude of shops and places to eat-many places to eat. I cannot tell you how many McDonald’s I have seen in just 3 days in Berlin as well as Burger King. Their Eastgate Mall is fantastic and even contains professional medical offices and law offices on the upper floors. Uschi told me that one such office was the office of a Gyn that she works for several days a week. The final photo here, the Manicure Express, I must show to my manicurist, Keisha, who will be amused by the ‘express’ part of this shop. We did stop at one of the cafés in the mall for some drinks and some time to relax. I had wanted to find some good maps of Germany and Poland and Gerhard took me to a huge bookstore in the mall where we did find some maps which I purchased – yes, Visa works here, too, with no problem but a nice chunk of money for exchange fees. We walked around the shops some more and Uschi asked me if I like “ice”. Evidently this meant ice cream and she went off and bought us some cups of ice cream; there is no lack of food or eating opportunities in Germany yet they all stay so slim – I think it is the walking. I would like to think with all the walking I have done that I could lose 50# but I doubt that would be the case!!
Following this it was another S-Bahn ride back to the apartments where Uschi served cakes and coffee/tea in her living room with different china, etc. It was 5 p.m. and that is supper time for me at home but not here. 5 p.m. is coffee and cake time and supper came later with the breads, rolls, cheeses and meats.
After the supper, I was ready to return to my apartment and sleep but Uschi was showing me books that Gerhard has written over the years on his life and the history of the family. These are books that he printed and bound himself and contain numerous pictures and stories of the various phases of his life. He also writes poetry and short stories and these are bound in book form as well. I wish I could read German to fully grasp the importance of his works.
Along with these books, a few years ago prior to the death of his wife, Edith, Gerhard and Edith put together a video tape presentation of their lives from birth to the present day. We sat down in Uschi & Harald’s living room to view this video and even though my German is minimal it was the most moving presentation for 90 minutes with both Gerhard and Edith speaking on their lives from childhood, through their courtship, marriage and the birth of Uschi, her marriage and children. Throughout the time of the war years, Gerhard had inserted television clips of the events of the war. I cannot fully describe the magnitude of this work. I jokingly asked him if he had an English version and he laughed and said “no”. I then said “can you make an English version” and he went “nay, nay” which is also NO and we had a good laugh. Though he did tell me that he had burned a copy on a CD and he had several sets and he would give me one CD which he did. It is a true testament to his life and the history of the world during those years.
Finally at 11 p.m. it was time to return to my apartment and some much needed rest. However, I had the urge to download my photos and before I knew it, it was 1 a.m. and definitely time for bed.Above photos - Copyright © 2008 by Cheryl Schulte