Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 7-Sightseeing in Berlin

Day 7 of my vacation already and how the time flies. Today would be a busy day with much sightseeing and some family visiting.

Breakfast was at 9 at Uschi & Harald’s apartment and consisted of the normal fare. Following this, Uschi, a cosmetologist, suggested that she give me a make-up demonstration. She works from her home and has a room designed for her cosmetology. This was fun as she is excellent at her job and it was nice to have somebody pamper me for a bit.

Following this, we traveled by car into Berlin proper to do some sightseeing. Our first stop was at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. I failed to understand the significance of the display and Gerhard himself told me that he really didn’t know why the memorial was built in the style that it was. There were some gift shops nearby and we had to visit them where I did purchase a lovely small music box.

We next continued to walk some distance to the United States Embassy which is adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate. I had been to the Brandenburg Gate in 1993 with my brother and family but it was interesting to see it again with corresponding dialogue from German cousins who had lived through the time of the falling of the wall. This was especially poignant in that my cousins live in what was East Germany and had previously had great difficulty getting to the West side. They told me historical facts and how their lives had been before the wall came down.

Turning a different direction we visited the Dem Deutschen Volke (Reichstag) and the Gendarmen Markt (Concert House & Theatre) before returning to the car.

Another short drive and the car was parked and we walked through the business district of Berlin stopping in various shops (including a lovely chocolate shop) before finding a wonderful restaurant, Loewenbraeu, to eat lunch in. At this restaurant, which is near Friedrichsstrasse, we ate outside in a courtyard, I again had wiener schnitzel but the portions were so large that it is near impossible to eat the entire meal. I cannot believe the size of the portions here. The piece of wiener schnitzel filled the entire large dinner plate and the corresponding potatoes that came with the meal were served in a separate bowl.

Following this meal we again walked through other areas of the business district where my cousins pointed out buildings of interest including the location of the business where Gerhard worked during his career as a graphic designer.

Back to the car and a drive out to Victoria Park where there were walking paths and a lovely waterfall. While Berlin is a huge city with the noise and hustle and bustle that a huge city brings, there are equally peaceful and serene areas as well.

It was now nearing 5 p.m. and we again returned to the car for a drive of some miles to the home of Kai and Steffi; Kai is the oldest son of Uschi & Harald and I had met Kai in 2000 when he came to the US. Now 8 years later he and Steffi are awaiting the birth of their first baby and they have a very large apartment that I enjoyed seeing. In true German style, Steffi had prepared the afternoon cakes, coffee and tea as well as other treats and we sat and visited, viewed all the baby items that they have accumulated and met their dog and 3 cats. Steffi speaks perfect English as she works in a local hotel where the staff must speak English to accommodate the guests. I enjoyed meeting her and talking with her as well.

We left their home at 8:30 and headed back to Marzahn and our apartments. We will see Kai and Steffi again on Sunday when we gather at a local Chinese restaurant with the rest of the family for a Kolberg family reunion!

Despite the amount of places we saw today and the amount of walking done, I wasn't tired at the end of the day and the memories of the day stayed with me. Through this long day, little Kira, Harald & Uschi's dog, accompanied us. She is the most well behaved dog and I remarked about this to Uschi, asking her how she had trained Kira so well. Her remark was "a lot of love and patience". I think I better send my little Zoya to Berlin for some training because, at 10 years old, Zoya would never have been able to go on a day long jaunt!

Above photos - Copyright © 2008 by Cheryl Schulte

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