Birthday Celebration

Trip Start Aug 31, 2009
Trip End Jan 08, 2010

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Flag of Germany  ,
Saturday, September 5, 2009

Yesterday was my birthday, although it didn't quite feel like it without my family, friends, and of course my princess crown that is in storage.  We spent the day out and about, first at a yummy gourmet deli where we enjoyed cappucinos, croissants, and people watching (I think we were mistaken for Germans by a real German older woman who said something to us in Deutsch!!), then it was off to the zoo, aquarium, and Ku'damm.  Ku'damm is short for Kurfurstendamm, a two mile stretch near downtown Berlin full of shops, cafes, and cool stuff.  We went to a large, historic department store called Ka De We which was the weirdest, coolest department store I've ever been to.  There are several floors reminiscent of a typcial department store (excluding the fact that you can buy items from Burberry, Dior, and YSL among other expensive designers on every floor) except for the fifth floor which is the "gourmet floor", which you know I was all about.  They had every type of gourmet food you could ever want, fresh baked bread, amazing desserts too pretty to eat, every type of chocolate you could imagine, olive oils from around the world, famous European meats and cheeses, wine and beer get the idea.  My favorite part of this floor however were the champagne bars.  We found at least four small bars where you can go and enjoy a glass of quality champagne, which is perfect for us since we could never afford the whole bottle.  We chose the Veuve Cliquot Champagne bar (mostly so I could get a picture for my friend ABC) and got to know the bartender.  He told us he has a girlfriend who lives in Greece who he gets to see every few weeks, he's trying to learn Greek and she's trying to learn German but in the meantime they speak English to each other to communicate.  Interesting, eh? 
Before I reveal where we spent the rest of the day I have a shocking, somewhat shameful admission: we ate lunch at McDonald's.  Yes, the same McDonald's I generally refuse to eat at in the United States.  Alex and I seem to have a knack for spontaneously choosing bad or mediocre restaurants.  After several days of hit or miss meals we decided to go with what was easiest and familiar, the sweet golden arches.  Yes, it was a cop out, but after several days of uncertainty and being completely out of our element we craved something familiar.  Oh well.
Anyway, we had planned to go to this restaurant in the TV Tower overlooking the city for dinner but were disappointed to discover (after we had walked forever of course) that it was closed until the 12th for a conference.  We chose this restaurant out of a guidebook we bought before we left so we knew we would get a decent meal at the very least.  With no back up plan we went and wandered for what seemed like an eternity in my heels until we found a restaurant.  At this point it had started to rain, we had for some reason chosen to leave our umbrella home, I was so hungry and exhausted and I just wanted to go home and cry.  We perservered, however, and chose a little Italian restaurant that was of course mediocre (we have a track record to uphold!) but we were desperate. 
Even though dinner was just OK I still had a great birthday because I had my partner in crime with me who insisted we celebrate even when I just wanted to go home and be negative. Sometimes I need help seeing the bigger picture, that despite my frustrations with the language barrier and the anxiety that comes with being in a completely foreign place that I still have this amazing experience and I need to take the good with the bad, and Alex is always good for that.  I am grateful for him and for all of our family and friends supporting us back home, we are so lucky.  We love and miss you guys everyday!  :)
For now it's back to the ongoing saga of finding the right electrical adapter (so I can dry my hair at the very least)...we'll keep you posted.
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