Keith and I are picking up to move to Pécs, Hungary for one year. He has never been to Europe and the furthest east I've been is Switzerland.... Our Hungarian language skills are...well, we know some phrases. Come follow us on our adventure!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bicycling Berlin

In middle school I learned about the key on maps and how to figure out the distance ratio.   I know how to do this and after years of traveling & getting lost, one would think that I would use this skill.  Tragically, the thought never crosses my mind...until after I've been walking for 5+ kilometers and am exhausted.  This happened to us in Berlin.

We arrived in Berlin on Tuesday morning.  We lugged our wheel-less luggage uphill and arrived at our flat around noon.  Post nap and showers, we decided to walk to the longest remaining part of the Wall, which is known as the East Side Gallery.

Keith in front of the beginning of the East Side Gallery.  The longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still standing (1.3 km)
 In 1990, Germany invited 118 artists from around the world to paint & leave messages on the wall.  Since this was the inner wall of East Berlin, such expressions of dissent (and painting the wall at all) were forbidden during the Communist period.  Walking along the wall I had mixed emotions--this city has seen so much death and destruction, but every time picks itself up and moves forward to a brighter, more peaceful future.

Part of the East Side Gallery (this painting is by an artist from the US)

A little over half way down our walk along the wall, we learned this stretch is 1.3km...we had already walked much further from our flat to the start of this stretch of wall...and had a LONG way to go to get anywhere else.

Berlin is not a walking city.

Greer confirmed this for us when we met up with him for dinner a few hours later.  He said Berlin's nickname is 'Fat B' (or something like this...but in German, obviously).  This makes sense since it was divided from the end of WWII until 1989. 

Keith and I were a bit cranky from learning our lesson the hard way.  We decided we'd rent bikes on Wednesday. 
Keith waiting for me to give him the map
Berlin is a bicycling city!! It was wonderful.  A little chaotic in the areas of construction, but still, it was great to be bicycling. 

We set off for Brandenburg Gate, the main gate to the city.  We saw some sites in the area, and then went to the aquarium. 
On the East side of Brandenburg Gate

Turtles and crocs

Sand Tiger Shark (yikes!!)

Me & some giant fish
Post aquarium, we had some wine and I had a nutella filled crepe (I will miss the nutella filled crepes)
Please note the sugar on my face...this was taken before I got chocolaty-hazel nutty deliciousness all over me.
We left for our flat from here...which is on the complete other side of the city (a world away at one time), getting back just as the thunderstorm began.

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