After a month and a half in Krakow, my first trip was a weekend in Berlin. My husband and I were hosted by his grandma’s cousin and her family. It was a lovely weekend filled with good conversation and plenty of Bier.
We flew into Berlin to save time and because the train from Krakow is not functioning right now. The tickets were a little more expensive than ideal, but since we were hosted, we saved money on accommodation and meals.
Our hosts were the active Vera and B? who live in the former East Berlin. We took a bike ride to a park near their home that straddles the former border between the two sides. It was a magnificent fall morning with a huge sky and trees bursting with autumnal colors. Along the path we took, there were many signs depicting important scenes in the history of the wall. Afterwards we had lunch of meat and cheese and heard many tales of life in East Germany before heading into downtown Berlin.
Since most of it has been knocked down, it was near the river that we finally saw the wall. A large segment has been preserved because of the artwork it bears. We then headed into the city and seemingly back in time where we saw Schloss Castle and the Berliner Dom from the time of the German kings. The copper domes and obvious opulence seem out of place considering Berlin’s more recent history. We finished the day with a lovely and fitting Romantic concert at the French Dom followed by dinner and beer.
The next day we spent touring the Reichstag learning more about the German parliamentary system than I ever needed to know. This culminated in a long-winded speech entirely in German that I struggled to stay awake during. Thankfully the tour of the building’s modern dome can be done with a free recording in many languages including English. Despite the hazy day, we got beautiful views of many city landmarks and those vibrant trees that I can’t get enough of while learning more about the city’s history.
Afterwards we had lunch at a restaurant specializing in traditional Berlin food. Like German cuisine in general, the fare is heavy and intended for laborers. The smell of sauerkraut made me a bit homesick. I uncharacteristically had calf’s liver, but Tanner predictably went for a plate of sausages. He washed it down with a Berliner weiss, which is a beer made with something sweet (in his case, raspberry). Later we walked around the city more. Our hosts pointed out important landmarks to them and told us stories before be had to leave.
Next month we’re heading to Paris for my birthday!