Thursday, June 4, 2015

Day 8: Bouncing All Over Berlin

The day was gorgeous, bright sun and the birds in Hamburg are different from the birds in Chicago. How do I know? Their song is different. It's a higher pitch and more melodic.

The German neighborhood where my friend, Mariam Kobras (award winning author-check out her books on Amazon-brazen plug) lived was a quiet neighborhood that in the early morning was a great distance from the hustle and bustle of the other places I've been. It was well needed. I slept like a log. I sometimes snore when I'm tired and based on how hard I slept, I'm surprise it didn't register on the Richter scale.

I slept on the train to Berlin and the really wonderful thing was having lockers at the Berlin Haupbahnhof, so I hit the Berlin with a light pack of snacks and a sandwich that Mariam had kindly packed for me! 

I had previously bought a hop on/off ticket on one of the various tourist buses. What I did was hop on and when something struck my fancy, I just hopped off and went exploring. It saved a lot of walking. And it was such a gorgeous day, bright sunlight, blue skies and no rain at all. 

I saw Check Point Charlie and as soon as I got off, a wave of uncontrollable sorrow invaded me. Tears shot to my eyes and threatened to reign. I took some obligatory shots but I really couldn't stay. 

Next I stopped at the Berlin Dome. This beautiful old cathedral that you can visit. I went and got the audio tour for another €3 on top of the €7 entry fee. But with everything in German, it was best. 

I was awed at the main chancel, the wooden organ, the ornate statues of angels, babies and Luther. Yeah, he's there standing over the main church area. I lit a candle for my mom because she would do that if she was there. 

Then I saw the sign advising that you can take the stairs and climb the 267 steps(it's on a sign) that takes you to the cupola where you get a nice view of Berlin. I didn't do the climb because I didn't think I would make it, I knew I was already dehydrated and I didn't have any water with me.

Instead I went down to the crypt where it was darker, the ceiling was lower and there were caskets, some where simple tin things. But it made me think of Dracula. Then there were the ornate ones that were works of art.

But the minute I hit the crypt, I was swept with a feeling of sheet fatigue. I kept yawning and couldn't seem to stop. I finished up the rest of the audio tour, I did pay good money for it. But I had to get out of there for my vision seemed only to get darker. I wasn't taking any pictures, I didn't want any part of that energy.

I ran into the gift shop which thankfully was bright and I picked out some postcards, stamps and addressed the cards so I could mail them immediately. I barely finished writing a missive and addressed them when I knew I had to get water ASAP. So I paid the €3 for a bottle of water and downed it.

I decided that at the next stop, I'd have to find some food. I went to lunch at Alexanderplatz. And I vacillated between several different options, but when I saw this guy I had to take a picture and buy a brat from him. 

I walked up to him, pointed at the brat and he asked me something in German, which of course I didn't understand. Then he asked again, then added "einz boss?" I nodded "yah, ein" I know I didn't pronounce it right. Then he said "Moostard or catsup boss?" I said "mustard" my American accent out. He handed me a brat I gave him €1.50 and went on my merry way. I found someone selling coke zero and sat down in on of the various tables available and enjoyed a moment in the sun.

I hopped back on the bus and headed for the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Wall. The wall was being used as a backdrop to something called a "champions" fest or something the EUFA, some soccer game and people holding up signs looking for tickets to aforementioned game. Reporters were hanging around doing man on the street interviews! 

I returned to the bus and was returned to the Haupbahnhof and I noticed there were river tours.8 joined on basically as an excuse to bask in the sun and enjoy the moment. Then got suckered out of €5 for photos (official photo of a hot mess) and a glass of tonic water that tasted more like club soda,(huge difference of sweetness level). 

Now I sit waiting for my train as I take my first night train in Europe. Again, it's a cabin of 3 other people. The last time I took a sleeping car, I took a personal cabin, all by myself, with a lock and a private toilet/shower. It's hard to do your ablutions when on a movie train. Things go sideways quickly.

So, one week down five more to go. It's early, but it feels like time is flying.  

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