Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 50: Foiled Again

I thought I'd try to convey how the bicycle lanes work here, from what we've learned in the past few months. In some places, there are bicycle lanes on the sidewalks and these lanes are marked separately from the pedestrians. Other places, there is no bicycle lane on the sidewalk, so bicycles are supposed to use the street along with auto traffic. However, even when they are supposed to be in the street, cyclists will continue to use the sidewalks where pedestrians are (although, we've seen two instances where cyclists dismounted and walked their bicycles as soon as we were in the vicinity of the polizei).

Cyclist and Pedestrian.
If you are walking on the "right" sidewalk (to the right, along with flowing traffic), then bicycles in this lane (whether in the street or in the sidewalk-bicycle lane) will go "with" traffic. You typically look for bicycles traveling in this direction (of car traffic) and this is the "direction" of this bicycle lane. However, bicycles, going against traffic on the sidewalks, will NOT use the bicycle lane (because it's dedicated to those going the "correct" direction). So, a pedestrian must look out for these cyclists as well.

Some areas are more well marked than others. Look at the photo to the left. I tried to take a photo, but the lighting made it a little hard to tell. But the pedestrian is on the sidewalk area for foot traffic. The cyclist is in the lane, going with traffic. You can see the bricks in the ground denoting the bicycle lane. Where I'm standing, the sidewalk is made up of those small stones, but the woman is walking on normal concrete and the cyclist is on a different a coloured concrete section. Sorry the photo isn't better. Maybe another one another day. But for now, maybe this gives an idea of how to walk the streets with bicycles.

Today was a bit of a work day (more NagaiPhotography photo editing) while the kids occupied themselves (with social media, computers, iPods). For lunch, I took the kids to Naan Sushi. We have been there before and battled with the bees (with the cooler weather, we don't expect anymore bees, but to be extra careful, we sit inside).

Mount Mitte photo courtesy of MumAbroad
We didn't do much the rest of the afternoon, as we planned to meet Chris at Mount Mitte (and we needed to reserver our energy!) Remember this place? Mount Mitte is a ropes course we've been trying to go to ever since we got to Berlin, but have been foiled due to rain or last minute schedule changes. So, today's the day (yay) and we'll meet Chris there at 4:30pm.

But, guess what? Foiled again! As the kids and I were just about to get off our tram, we got a text from Chris....

Dang it! The website for this place is so vague. It says the last group goes 2 hours before sunset. Well, we thought we were good, but obviously we were too late. Chris asked for more details and it seems it's all about "the day". If it's a busy day, they might send off more groups of people as they show up. If it's a slow day, maybe once every 30 minutes or once an hour. Today, we just missed the last group of people they were going to let onto the ropes. So, we'll have to try another day.


Well, how about, instead, a walk along the Wall Walk with tour-guide mom to cheer you up? I'm the only one who has walked up this way, and it begins right where Mount Mitte is, so it makes sense to just walk home via the Wall Walk. I have to say, the kids dealt with the change of plans well and the walk home was pleasant and filled with a few history lessons.

We also decided to hunt for Chinese food to fill abate our sadness at missing out on the ropes course. This restaurant is up north, farther into Prenzlauer Berg (instead of Mitte, where we normally go... we are really right on the border of the two neighbourhoods). As you go farther into Prenzlauer Berg, it is much more residential. A lot less stores and restaurants. Also, quieter (less sirens and traffic).

Here's a bad video, but a quick example of the sirens we hear all the time (and this one's not even that loud, I didn't have to hold my ears):

Dinner was great. We over ordered, but somehow, seemed to finish it all anyway. Yum! As we left, we found we were humming the Christmas tunes that were playing in the restaurant (love it, Sinatra crooning Christmas carols in a Chinese restaurant, in Berlin, in October).

So, it was a pretty uneventful day. We are bummed about Mount Mitte and will hopefully get another chance to try it out.

Xander at his favourite part of any transportation (near the map). You can also
see our stop "Zionskirchplatz" on the digital display, along with the red
"Wagon Halt" showing that someone (probably Xander) has pressed the stop button.

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