Monday, September 21, 2015

Day 39: A Slow Day

Well, my throat is better, but I think it's now in my head. I am following Xander's path. And while it is fantastic to not have my throat on fire, the congestion headache isn't much better. I am now trying Xander's medicine. The medicine is dosed in "drops". So, Xander got 25 drops and I'll take 50. What a pain in the butt to count drops and then wonder, was that one or two that just came out? Anyway, I'll give it a try.

On my walk back from our morning walk, I went through the Wall Walk again. Every day I see people stopping to read and learn about the Berlin Wall. One day, I saw hoards of school aged kids (high school?) with notebooks and such. I suppose much as Californians see Spanish Missions, and Oregon kids study the Oregon Trail, the Berlin kids learn about the Berlin Wall. Other days I see tourist groups. But, I find that even though I've been through there several times, I seem to keep seeing things I didn't discover before (I haven't read all the informational signs, there are so many).

On today's pass through, I glanced at some of the stone steps in the grass. I have seen them before. I just assumed (never do that!) that they were paths through the grass. We have been in some areas that specifically ask that you do not step on the grass (Prague Castle) but here, at the Berlin Walk Walk, I haven't seen such signs and everyone walks over the grass. Still, I figured these steps are a nicer way to cross over.

Steps representing Tunnel 57 heading West to the western border signified by the tall poles (left)
Modern housing right up against the walk's landscaping (middle-left)
The church's original bells (middle-right), The wooden scaffolding for the bells (right)

Turns out they aren't just steps. They represent the paths of the underground tunnels (Tunnel 57 is pictured above). One for the Stasi and a few others were escape attempts. We're hoping to see some of these tunnels on an underground tour, sometime in the future.

Something else I noticed today, is that the big "wooden-shed" like structure I've been passing is actually holding three church bells. There is no sign for these, so I don't know much about them (like are they on display or do they actually work?) other than they are positioned in front of the Church of Reconciliation (later I find that the bells are the original bells and are rung by hand, but I don't know when or for what occasions). The scaffolding that holds the bells has been covered with large banners advertising certain events involving the church. But now the banners are down, which is why I've taken a closer look at discovered the bells.

View in Mauerpark
Lastly, it seems some landscaping is going on around the church grounds here. I've noticed how close some modern housing is to this historic Wall Walk, but the dark dirt amplified it for me today. How strange to live in a modern building, and look out upon Berlin Wall remnants and all those walking by.

I've been ending my walk, lately, at Mauerpark. It adds a little to my distance and is a nice way to end my city walk. The park is so beautiful, with so many nooks and crannies of benches, tree groves, and hide-a-ways. Today, as I looked over the vista, I was treated to the sound of bells (ah, yes, bells again!) I will miss the sound of those bells, I know it.

Speaking of bells, I've come to recognise why the bells that the M trams ring are familiar. They sound a lot like the trolly bells in San Francisco. A piece of home.

Sirens, on the other side, are horrible here. We all guess that the sirens are annoying so that they are heard above all else, but, wow, they are annoying and loud. When they go by, I see many others do as I do (cover our ears). And because we live where we do, I think we hear at least 4 sirens a day.

Otherwise, traffic is fairly quiet. Now that more people are back in town from summer holidays, I do notice more honking and more traffic, but no where near that of, say, San Francisco or another large city. There's just not that much honking. Again, the traffic seems to flow, pedestrians (who do NOT act like they have the right of way all the time) actually look and wait if it makes more sense to wait. Bicycles and motorcycles weave in and out. Cars will go, even if there is a pedestrian nearby, but always stop if there is one crossing, etc. They don't always pause if they see you waiting to go, but if you are already in the street, there's no honking for you to hurry, they just wait. This makes it all the more jarring when someone does actually beep.

And another side note: Those three lifeguards at the city pool? They never yelled or blew a whistle. And most people obeyed the rules. So, the system works itself with everyone working within the same set of guidelines. There are those that break the rules or are obnoxious, but no where near the amount of jerks I can think of that break the rules back home, even though there seem to be more "watchers" (police, lifeguards, librarians, anyone in a role of authority). Just gives me more thoughts that Americans can be entitled brats. But I digress.

After lunch, I asked the kids if they would come with me to the birch grove in Mauerpark for some photos. They agreed! We all decided we'd come back to see the fall colours change, I'm thinking once a week. There are a few yellow leaves in there, but I'm wondering how fast the change will happen here. Trees are mostly green around town.

A few early photos from our shoot.

I think we should come back once a week until the trees are all turned.

We made a quick market run on our way home and the kids bought a few chocolatey snacks. One, by Cadbury, that tasted like a chewy, peanut-y, 3 Musketeers. And the other like an Easter egg made of chocolate, and when you crack it open, there is a crappy-plastic toy inside.

The Wunderbar (left) and the Kinder egg (right)

Chris was invited to a meet-up last minute and we decided he should go. With my headache in full swing, the kids got instant-ish ramen noodles for dinner (yay!)

Time for bed and healing Z's.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry that you are sick, hope you recover quickly and that Chris and Venice stay clear of the cold.