Seeing as how March is nearly over, and Berlin happened at the beginning of this month, I should probably be tying things up. I suppose at some point I'd intended to go over it all in a bit more detail, but I'm tired today (got in around 3:30AM after a Winfield party/concert combo!) and I'm basically just ready to be done with it. So I'll quickly fill in the last couple of days that I was there, toss in some photos for better effects, and then be prepared to move on to the next era in blogging...whatever that may entail.
I started Friday off with a trip to Check Point Charlie. This is the most famous border crossing from the East to West from back in the day. All that remains is a small station situated next to a large museum. I didn't end up going to the museum, having already spent so much money on museums, but I figure if I ever make it back I'll be sure to check it out.
I stopped quickly by the topography of terror museum. It's just so incredible to wander around this city with so many layers of history sitting right next to each other. This place, which is currently under reconstruction, is the sight of the central prison of the SS. So here we have remnants of the Nazis and the Communists rubbing up next to each other, with buildings still visibly scarred by bombs and other weaponry, reminding the populace of all that has taken place.
Bonhoeffer was one of the people held in this prison. I just had to think of Dr. Slane when I took this photo. :)
After all the wandering I did there, I was hungry and managed to remember how to get back to the amazing Falafel place Sarah had told me about. It really was incredible. You can watch them cooking them up right there. They toss them into a little folded tortilla like bread shell and add some yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. When you bite into these little beauties the outside is brown and crispy, while the inside is a soft green warm experience. They really were incredible, and after the fast meal I swung for a second time by the massive Jewish temple for a couple day time photos.
Did I mention how totally random this day was? My next trip was to the Sony Center. While, sadly, I never managed to get there to see it by night, I did enjoy this fast run through, and really thought the old preserved hotel they have on location as it was after being bombed was super interesting.
I had planned to go and do some more shopping next, but ended up going back to check out a little toy store with Ben and Sarah. After that Ben came with me to hunt for bears. The Buddy Bears are really pretty fun. I found several on my own, like the European one that had Czech on it, but Ben and I managed to find a few together as well. It was a cold and drippy sort of day, so we didn't really want to spend too much time wandering about the streets, but at least we managed to find a few Teddy Bears on Parade...
A few other highlights from the day include a trip to a small square really close to Ben and Sarah's place that miraculously didn't suffer any damage during the war, and still has an old school public toilet. The inside is just open with a little sort of ditch around the outer edge. Interesting. I didn't actually try to use it or anything :) I also got a nice shot of the Brandenburg Tor at night.
Now for a quick trip through Saturday, after a nice leisurely morning, including a quick trip to a nearby grocery store for some amazing German chocolate and some Apfel Schoerle for my roomie's birthday, we headed out to lunch with Ben's Hungarian friend and her husband. We met them at this fun new Hungarian restaurant where we got to sample some fascinating Hungarian food. Not being a huge kraut fan, this dish that was layer after layer of kraut, mixed with minced pork, rice, cheese, and some interesting sauces, with two slices or sausage on top, was a bit much for me. Thankfully, Ben is still able to put food away, and was able to clean up my and Sarah's leftovers. We also had some really great goulash, and finished the meal with three types of strudel: traditional apple, sour cherry and poppyseed, and quark (which is a special kind of cheese I think like cheese curds if you have any idea what those are.)
After lunch we went to Gendarmen Markt where we found a final bear, and took in the view of these three massive structures.
This last bit of retelling was a bit lack luster, for which I do apologize, but at least it's all out there now :)