Monday, June 4, 2012 &
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
When we got home last night we Skyped friends and family and updated them on our journey, flights, gloomy weather, bicycles everywhere (oh yea, yesterday was Berlin Bicycle Day), solar panels, etc. After we finished our calls we realized that we really like this place! The weather is much cooler than we expected but overall we are really enjoying so many new experiences and Berlin itself. This realization made us more excited for the following days' adventures.
On Tuesday we woke up extra late, still effected by jet-lag. We walked to the closest metro station and this time it didn't take 35 minutes to buy a metro pass, AlphaPoppa knocked out that task in about 3 minutes. We got off at the AlexanderPlatz train station and decided to get lunch. We ate at one of the train station's many restaurants. As we were eating our chinese food a woman approached our table speaking German and asking us for directions. I smiled and tried to explain to her that we do not speak German, "Nein deutche". It made me giggle that someone could think I'd be of any assistance on my second full day in Germany. The woman was furious that we would not help and she went off, in German! Now I don't know much German but I can tell when I'm being told off, this was one of those times. In the middle of going off she switched to English,"I do not know why you do not help me! You are black African just like me and you do not help me. You are not a European!", then she switched back to cursing us out in German and walked away. Uh, Ok, alrighty then!
After our lunch we were ready to see as much as possible. We decided on a boat tour. Until our arrival I had no idea that Berlin had so many river channels running through it. Our boat ride was spectacular! It cost 12 euro per adult and 7 euro for Zane. Most things for Dude are free since he's only 3 years old. The boat ride was an hour long and the tour guides gave a brief history of the landmarks we passed. The boat had a lower deck (that's where we were) that was set up as a restaurant. AlphaPoppa had a large beer and the boys were glued to the huge windows as we sailed through Berlin and passed through tunnels. After our boat ride we decided to just roam around. In doing so we came across a great playground. We let the boys loose and enjoyed watching them interact with German speaking children. They played for at least an hour.
Since we got to a late start, by the time we finished roaming around and buying snacks at a nearby grocery store it was nearly 8 pm! Since we've been here the sun sets around 10pm and is back up by 4am! When we got home we all jumped in our beds and slept like babies!
Tuesday morning we did much better as far as jet lag recovery. We were all up by 9:30 but we still didn't leave the house until 11. It very easy to get caught up in great conversations with our host. He's traveled or lived on 6 continents and he has stories and pictures that just suck you in, he's an extremely fascinating and intelligent man. For that day's exploration we decided on doing something a little different. Inspired by our boat tour we decided to see some of the sites up close, bought metro passes, and got off at the main metro station, Hauptbahnhof. We then walked over to the Reichstag which serves as the German Parliament building. It is enormous, breathe taking. At a nearby tourist shop I bought Deutschland soccer jerseys for me and Zane. They didn't have Dude's size so he got a mini berlin soccer ball. We then walked over to what I'm calling embassy square and then to Brandenburg Gate, another historic site from when the city has divided. We ate a German lunch from a local street vendor and I took pictures with as many Berlin Bear statues as I could find. We later stopped at a McDonald's to use the bathroom and were suckered into buying happy meals. As the boys finished up their food AlphaPoppa snuck over to a casino that he'd scoped out the day before. When we all met back up I finally found a shop that sold winter hats. Today's high was 58! Poor Zane said he was getting brain freeze.
On our walk home from the neighborhood metro station a beautiful lady rode up to us on her bicycle excitingly talking to us in German. She said our host's name several times so we immediately figured out that she was his daughter and the precious little girl in the bike's child seat must be his grand-daughter. We were so happy to meet her and laughed at how easily identifiable we were. Our host did fairly warn us that there were no black people in his area! When we arrived home we were also greeted by our host's son and his 73 year old mother. His son spoke perfect English; his mother, on the other hand, only spoke German and was infatuated with rubbing the boys heads and touching my hair. She was lovely and I didn't mind her curiosity at all! She invited us over for a German lunch the following day and left smiling from ear to ear. You know I'm looking forward to that lunch and spending time with her, right?! That night we also received another couch surfing house guest. Marcos is a social work student from Southern Germany that is in Berlin for a school project. My jet-lag started to kick in so to keep myself awake, and on German time, I stayed up talking to Marcos and our host. They took this time to expose me to German foods and drinks. I tried milk butter, I have no idea how describe the taste but I surely didn't like it! I did drink it all to avoid bring disrespectful. I also tried a German bread with different toppings, they were pretty good. We talked politics and culture a while, then I helped AlphaPoppa get the boys to bed and we all fell fast asleep.