A Cold Front in Germany

Trip Start Mar 01, 2012
Trip End Apr 30, 2012

Flag of Germany  ,
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4:

And another train confusion leads to about a half hour of discomfort and sweaty faces…. We see the train to Berlin from Prague pull up, watching the first class car go by so we head in the direction of that car so that we can leisurely grab our seats.. However, the train gods must have thought that the past couple of excursions have been too trouble free so they decided to throw a wrench into the situation by strategically placing a non-English speaking troll at the gates of our car, hand signaling to us that this was the wrong first class, and that we must move to the complete other end of this 12 car train.. With limited time till departure, we felt that hopping off and running would have been risqué so we decided to take the challenge number 2 and walk our way through the train with our baby elephants (that must have feasted at our breakfast buffet because they felt heavier than usual).. Now, one would think that by this point in time, all the other passengers with assigned seats would have figured out where to take residence for the trip, leaving the isles free for us to trudge through. NO, the complete opposite occurred as we ran into obstacles at almost every car, including a showdown with the female Russia mafia… We looked at them with their little bags and ice-chiseled faces, gesturing that they should kindly back into a pair of seats so that we could scuttle through.. They came back strong though with a "There are more of us on this side of the line" comment, and I was quite tempted to just spit on them at this point but refrained… We then were forced to have an orgy with a couple that was seated directly next to us when this event occurred, basically grinding our bags up against there legs while the mafia stilettoed by.. Finally we made it to the other end of the train where we ran into a fellow that also was greeted by the troll in the pseudo first class, but he decided to do detour #1, where he was forced to throw his belongings in the train just as the doors were closing… He was fit, we were not as fit and were carrying more baggage, thus detour #2 was a good decision even though we almost had a spit-off.

Finally we arrive in Berlin, hop on several metro trains during rush hour, and then end at our hotel… We change into warmer clothes since the temperature dropped several degrees with some addition of rain clouds, and then were off to an interesting Ethopian meal. After reading trip advisor, every review said that this restaurant was a MUST so we thought what better time to experience something new than in Germany. We arrive and are the only people in the whole place, minus the childcare crew that was running amuck throughout the entire restaurant (family business, it actually was a much more pleasant experience than what it sounds like). Looking at the menu only written in German, I see a word that looks something like "Vegetarian" and we agree that vegetables are not as intimidating as random varieties of meat.. The meal consisted of handful-sized servings of various vegetable concoctions (lentils mixed with spices, a potato and squash mix we think?) on top of these thin, crepe-like lentil cakes.. The object of the game was to scoop up the vegetable concoctions by using the crepes as spoon-substitutes (which we bypassed somehow by cleverly scooping the assortment of mounds with our tea spoons and creating make-shift ethopian burritos).. In the end, both bridget and I basically clean the large platter (minus this weird pickle-mint mixture which went down about as easily as grape-cough syrup), and were quite content… If you would like a visual of the event, the scene in Along Came Polly is quite comparable (minus with the addition of spoons and the minus of sweating/expelling our meal).

April 5:

We wake up to a gloomy Berlin (which is exactly how I pictured the city to be honest) and start the day off with a free walking tour (its becoming our standard protocol when arriving in a new city, and we love it). After touring around Berlin, learning all about communism, WWII the Cold war, and random bits of information (did you know that the Berlin Wall went through seven different renovations to finally reach the final construction of two walls that had a 5-yrd death strip in between that contained traps and police dogs--interesting, I know), we end our experience as frozen icicles with full bladders that are in desperate need of food and a bathroom.. 

We finally end in this warm cafe-type place where we both enjoy a great meal (and a fantastic beer for me) which warmed us up and left us quite happy.. At this point in the journey I decided that in order for me to survive the rest of the day, I would need to ditch the two tights and dress I was wearing for a warmer and more insulated outfit. I told Bridget I would be no longer than thirty minutes and I then hopped on the closest metro… My original 30-minute would have been achieved if it weren't for the train breaking down about 1/3 into the trip, leaving me to walk the other 2/3 (a 30 minute trek in it of itself so I think you can summon a guess as to how long the entire trip took)… Needless to say, an hour and a half later, I come back to an amicable Bridget, trying to paint the image of me sitting by myself as the metro emptied after hearing that the train was broken down (IN GERMAN) trying to get some sympathy points… Luckily she accepted my explanation and we were off to buy some warmer shoes since the canvas-thin tennis we had on were not going to cut it in Denmark (look on a map where this is….it is quite North). 

The rest of the evening is full of us walking around, enjoying that sun that came out right after I changed my outfit (the irony is only entertaining now looking back), and snapping shots of us next to Life-size painted Bears that was part of a art movement (hundreds of bears--Berlin's mascot--were painted by hundreds of people--much like the store "art for your heart" if you know what I am talking about--and distributed all throughout the city…so we attempted to take as many pictures as we could of these sculptures)…

April 6:

While waiting in line for the free tour the day prior, we hear an enchanting and whitty British voice coming out of this gangling fellow that was apart of the free walking tour company… He was not our guide that day, but we were told that he was leading a walking tour on the 6th (today) around Potsdam, Germany, so we couldn't resist the British spell and decided to join his tour (we were thinking of going to Potsdam regardless, so it wasn't a completely outlandish decision).. After an hour and a half of traveling that probably could have taken Bridge and I thirty minutes (he was quite unorganized due to some trains not running as result of today being a national holiday), we finally get to this beautiful Island, that housed palaces and summer homes for the wealthy (supposedly the host of Germany's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire has a swanky place here)… We walk around the lavish gardens, marveling at the stunning houses (which actually appeared vacant and slightly run-down so that was a little surprising).. Along the way, we stop at the castle where the Three Greats met (Churchill, Stalin, and Truman) to come to a conclusion of how to make sure that WWIII did not happen… The place was stunning and is now used as a hotel (spend $1,000 a night and you too could brag to your friends that you slept in the same room that the three great leaders once stayed)..

We continued traveling around the town, talking intermittently with other tour attendants and the leader of the tribe himself, Prince Charming. If you want an image, I think he is a mix of Hugh Grant and his tall roommate from Notting Hill, a hilarious combo if I must say so myself.. We end the tour visiting the Versailles of Germany, a beautiful area of lavish gardens that even in the depressing weather seemed quite spectacular… It was a great experience, and were able have another history lesson that completely surpassed any class we took prior to this trip. 

We ended our night at an Indian food restaurant located on a gay friendly street, so we enjoyed some great curry and parade of men in leather-chaps, a perfect way to end our Berlin experience… 

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