Along my morning walks, just a block south of where I normally walk (a block south-east to The Wall walk), is a family of Stolpersteins, with the names of the family members that used to live here, the dates of their deportation, and the dates of their deaths. Today marks the 73rd anniversary of this family's deaths in the Nazi regime (see photo on the left below).
Once I began looking down, I found several more, just walking around our neighbourhood. There is some controversy surrounding the Stolpersteins (some countries and cities do not allow them as a result of this controversy), but I like the fact that these people are personally memorialised in a beautiful, simple manner.
On this morning, I really didn't want to go for my walk. I would have loved to stay in bed. But I went anyway. And in doing so, I had the opportunity to experience these memorials.
|"Hier wohnte" = "Here lived", "Ermordet" = "Murdered"|
So, I've mentioned how time is running out. It's time to start researching the UK and all that we think we'd like to do while there. It's definitely a different method of planning when we will be 100% tourists. In a few weeks, our feeling of "residents in Berlin" will be done and we'll be moving onto tourist-mode. I'm making our list of landmarks to see, what exhibits to actually go in (without doing too many and driving ourselves crazy), and how to fit it all in knowing that Chris will be working some of this time (the London office is excited for him to come visit).
Unfortunately, we picked a "bad" time to visit London. A city that is already expensive will be all the more expensive when we go due to a big conference that's going on. Bummer. But, thanks again to HotelTonight, we'll find some lodging that will accommodate a family of four at a reasonable price. We just need to buy our super expensive tickets to fly to London (I'm being sarcastic... we're not sure why, but even during this conference time, our tickets are looking to be in the $17-$75 dollar range depending on when we fly and which Berlin airport we choose, crazy!)
So, as I put important things on our "to-see" list (Big Ben, Stonehenge, etc.), I also add a few fun things to try (22B Baker Street and Abbey Road). I don't know what we'll have time for, but we now have a list to guide us.
We met Chris for lunch at a Japanese Kitchen restaurant just next door to HotelTonight. I think we're going to miss having so many sushi places to pick from when we return home.
Then, as Chris goes back to work, the kids and I run a few errands. First, to the Galleria (our go-to store, these days) and pick up a few more souvenirs (we're almost complete on our list of things we want to bring home). Then we're off to find Mailboxes, Etc. (yes, they have those here!). We're looking for boxes and prices to send a few things home.
|Riding an U-Bahn. The kids are watching the board to see where we are.|
We are excited to see an "Amplemann" of sorts on the display board, denoting a transfer station.
We hadn't seen that before!
As we're hunting for the Mailboxes, Etc. store, we pass by the Volksbühne building (the People's Theatre). Not much to report here other than I thought it was a cool looking building. I liked the street "art" that lead to the building (several metal plates from several directions lead to the building, with, what I think are, quotes or information about writers/playwrights, etc.). Xander liked the "Wheel with Legs" art on the front lawn. In any case, this theatre is just around the corner of our destination.
At Mailboxes, Etc., we buy three boxes and some tape (almost forgot that, which would have been disastrous!) The woman, who helped us, and her coworker said that if we ship using Mailboxes, Etc. it could cost us about €120 per box (we're generalising about weights, since we don't know how heavy they'll be in the end) because Mailboxes, Etc. works with UPS. So, it's faster. But, they suggested, if not in a hurry, to use the Deutsch Post, which will take a few weeks, BUT, only cost about €60 per box. Chris says DHL has always given him a tracking number, so if the real difference is only time, we have that and at half the price?! No brainer? However, in either case, it does make me want to limit what we ship. We will be able to take luggage with us either rolled into the cost of our airline ticket, or at a lower price than either UPS or DHL. So, we'll see what we end up doing. For now, I spend over €30 on boxes and tape just to "think about it".
And what happens when you're walking and carrying paper products? Rain. Of course. Sprinkles, really, thank goodness. We carry our awkward boxes on the U2 and I allow the kids to drag them home while I stop at the market for a few things.
We have a buzzer at our apartment that we have never used. We have guessed which one is ours and have guessed how to use it, but I have always been hesitant to try it. Questions of, "What if they mix up the numbers and names so that outsiders don't know who lives where?" I'd really hate to buzz someone else by mistake. So, I've been too chicken to try it. But, now that my fear is out there and heard by my kids, I feel brave enough to try it when I get back home (and the kids are inside with my keys). We had planned for me to Skype them to come let me in, but now I'm feeling brave, as I mentioned, so I push the buzzer for AHD. I head Xander on the other end, "Hello!" And then a buzzing noise and I can open the door. I head upstairs and he's waiting for me at our apartment door. Cool! And yes, that's a camera above the buzzers, so he was able to see me on a video feed. Cool. Now, perhaps, we can order delivery food as Venice really wants, now that I can tell them what button to push (unlike Chris, who one time ordered delivery food at HotelTonight and had to wait outside for the delivery).
It's another night where Chris won't be home for dinner. His team is going out to play laser tag (we're all jealous) and he won't be back until very late. So, we do a simple dinner at home and I use up some of our pantry items (chocolate-covered-peanut-butter balls!) to drown our sorrows of missing Chris and laser tag.
And then to bed.
I'll leave you with this view of one street. Not the craziest, but just one of the streets that's currently under construction so the lanes are all temporarily painted differently than normal, to help cars, bicycles, and pedestrians find their way. But, seriously... we couldn't figure out who was supposed to go where. So, again... VERY glad to NOT be driving around here!