This week marks the 5th week of our living in Germany; it’s hard to believe it’s been that long already! We’ve explored the city at least 3 times every week, had food from all over the world (the pizza is almost as good as it is in Italy!), and seen numerous memorials and museum exhibits. Our German friends Michael and Judith have been awesome – Michael helped us get around the city the first few weeks and made it so our transition was very smooth; he even made us our first German meal of Jagerschnitzel!
Speaking of German food, here, Isaac demonstrates one of his favorite ways to eat a brat:
Judith is a friend of one of our midwives back at home in Kansas and is also an OB, so Cori loves knowing her here in this foreign-to-us country. She also showed us around to some of her favorite parts of the city, many of them close to where we live.
For instance, there’s an old abandoned airport (Tempelhofer Feld) within walking distance from our apartment that has been converted into a park where people bike, jog, walk their dog, and even garden! Cori’s been there a couple of times by herself to explore the homemade gardens and get out into the fresh non-city smelling air.
About a week ago we traveled to a suburb of Berlin called Potsdam. Potsdam is located in what used to be Russian controlled Eastern Germany, but the town’s eastern border was shared with the U.S. controlled sector of Western Berlin. A bridge along this border was where the U.S. and Russia exchanged political prisoners during the Cold War and until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. We went to see this bridge, but it was raining, really cold, and at the end of the tram line, so we didn’t stick around long! Potsdam, however, is a beautiful and quaint kind of city with a Dutch sector.
It even has a small area of houses clustered together that were built in the early 19th century after the Russian style at that time for a Russian choir that had a very interesting history. Also, in this colony there is still a family that can trace its roots back to an original choir member.
While in Potsdam we bought ice cream – Cori wanted Armadas’ Dream (chocolate and pistachio), which was, in her words, also “her dream”.
We also went to King Frederick the Great’s summer palace (you can see a picture of the flowers of the spectacular entrance over to the right in the Instagram photos).
Embarrassing tourist moment: While at a Thai restaurant in Potsdam, I (Isaac) messaged our German friend, Michael, to ask him how to say something in German and he replied back, “Meine Frau hat sich im badezimmer eineeschlossen” which is roughly translated as, “My wife is stuck in the bathroom.” …Yes, Cori got stuck in the bathroom… She sent me a message while I was waiting for her that read, “So, I might be locked in the bathroom…” So, after I finished laughing at her message, I went to the bathroom to lend a helping hand. But, as expected, I couldn’t figure it out either. Therefore I went to an employee and tried my limited German on them. “Meine frau….um…stuck…bathroom *hand gestures*”. Two employees who seemed to comprehend our predicament proceeded to follow me to the bathroom. But despite my protests and insistence on them coming to the women’s room, they went into the men’s room and gave me a demonstration on how to flush the toilet, handed me a roll of toilet paper and left me with assuring smiles and a thumbs up. So…needless to say they were no help! Finally, Cori figured out how to turn the key really hard on the inside and open the door. We left that restaurant as fast as we could with me laughing and Cori kicking me. 😉
Just a few days ago, we went to the Eastside Gallery, which is the longest remaining portion of the Berlin Wall – about a mile long. In 2005, Berlin tried to restore some of the famous paintings on the Wall, but discovered that it was impossible (mostly due to the poor quality of paint used for the original artwork as well as vandalism), so they decided to white wash many parts of the wall and have the original graffiti artists return and repaint their artwork (there was/is some politics and copyright issues with this). Here are a few that we felt were thought-provoking:
And lastly, we will be heading to Kolo Poland for Easter to spend it with a few of Cori’s old friends – the Mooneys!
Berlin Tip #3: An umbrella or raincoat, don’t leave home without them (if it’s springtime)! Even if the forecast says there is no chance it will rain, don’t believe them; they lie.