Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day 12: First "Real" Day

Today marks our first "real" day. Official vacation is over.

I walked Chris to work today. It was good to see where he'll be walking every day. It's a good walk, a solid 20 minutes at a quick pace. On the way home, there's a little up hill. When we got to his office, I resisted the urge to take his photo in front of the HotelTonight logo. It really felt like "back to school" or "back to work" day for him and I wanted to document it how I see all my FB friends are documenting their kids' first days back to school. But, as I said, I resisted. Too silly, embarrassing, what if a co-worker saw (and one did come up while we were talking, so, phew!) but... I regret it now. We'll have to recreate it later.

Map of one section of the Berlin Wall
As I explored my way home, I stumbled across a Berlin Wall "walk" that I'd been interested in doing (pictures here). I can't even explain what it's like to walk here, where it actually existed. It's too much to process. I've been other places with history and it's a similar feeling, just too hard to imagine all that occurred here, so long ago. And yet, with the Berlin Wall, it wasn't that long ago, and that makes it more painful of a memory. Walking past the Colosseum, in Italy, say, one can imagine the horrible violence that passed for "sport". It's awful, but so far removed from the lives we're living today. It feels very old.

But, the Wall, feels current. Historical pictures are in black and while, which gives it an older feeling, but it's not. Perhaps it's the phenomenon of how historical events that we live through have such a stronger impact on us than those of the past. So, having lived through the Cold War, Perestroika, and the fall of the Berlin Wall brings all this closer to reality and out of the imagination. In any case, it's definitely an experience to walk through and see the remnants of such an awful time.

A pretty trail nearby
On a lighter note, today's Berlin really seems to be rejoicing in the life that is now. As I've mentioned before, there are so many parks for children to play, parks for picnics, and green areas for fresh air.

There are always people milling about. There are countless sidewalk caf├ęs with people eating at all times of the. I do wonder how this will change with the changing of seasons (if that ever comes, damn it's still really hot).

On a side note: there are so many smokers here. It doesn't seem as horrible as it was in Venice, Italy. But, there are still a lot of smokers here and there are more available places they are allowed to smoke (like at restaurant tables outside).

Rotating "egg"
After lunch, the kids decided they wanted to go back to the "Alice in Wonderland" park. This is the park where adults are not allowed and kids are encouraged to come and go as they please.

So, we headed off to the park. After a few minutes into my book (as I read in the shade along with the bees), the kids came back out. Turns out, you must have close-toed shoes to climb on their structures. Not a big surprise. We had heard about the Germans and their concern for children's feet! So, we left and went to a different park. Easy, since there are so many! We'll have to come back another day with sneakers on.

The kids found a way to practice their Circus Arts strength. Not quite the same, but it'll do for now. Just trying to keep in shape!
Circus Arts practice! 
And then home for me to cook my first meal (alone). I forgot to ask Chris how to work the oven. It's not as easy as you think. No words, just pictograms on the oven. So I picked what I thought looked like regular oven (heat from one direction, but that wasn't broil). Then, I used a convert-bot app to figure out what 350 degrees F is in C. Then, we were ready for baked potatoes. They worked! I'm a kitchen genius! Lecker (yummy)!

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