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Friday, March 2, 2012

Now I KNOW I'm in Europe

   Last Wednesday, Brett and I returned from Berlin where I was visiting/Brett was working.  We did a whole bunch of sightseeing.  Berlin is a very interesting and beautiful city. Because most of the city was destroyed during WWII, there is a great deal of stunning modern architecture as well as some beautiful old buildings.  We visited Checkpoint Charlie, saw portions of the wall, and visited beautiful churches.  I also visited several museums by myself.  The Jewish Museum was incredibly touching.  The architure was amazing.


  Monday, I went to the Berlin Zoo.   It's a great zoo.  I saw animals there that I have never seen in other zoos. Dozens of different warthog and wild pig species live there; they were my favorite.  They had all the usual critters, big and small, and maybe because it was pretty cold, the animals were really active and frisky.  The zoo is very very big and then I visited the large attached aquarium and reptile exhibit. Then I walked back. the time I got back to the hotel, my dogs were barking.  There was supposed to be a spa, pool and sauna in the hotel so when Brett was through with his meetings, we went down to the pool. There was a jetted swimming pool but no hot tub which was what I really needed.  I told Brett that I'd be in the sauna while he was swimming.  Now, here's the European part.  There was a naked man sitting happily on his towel in the small sauna.  I turned around, rechecked the sign and hightailed it back to the pool where the following conversation took place.
Brett:  "Why didn't you go to the sauna?"
 Me:  "I did, but there was a naked man sitting there AND it was really small." 
Brett:  "You looked?!"  
Me:   "No!! The sauna was really small."

   About ten minutes later, the gentlemen walked passed us (no eye contact made) and Brett and I claimed the sauna wearing bathing suits.   I asked the attendant if there were separate saunas for each gender and then she said (in not so friendly a way), "You're American, aren't you?"  What?? Is it my supposed prudishness?  Is it the fact that I speak English with an American accent?  Maybe I'm a little paranoid, but what I heard is "This spoiled lady is pissed that there's no hot tub, the pool is cold and there's a naked man in the sauna."  So I tried to make friends by booking a massage for the next morning...and that was very nice. 

    The shopping was amazing as well.  Europe's largest gourmet market is on the top floor of the KaDeWa department store and, of course, we had to explore it.  Just amazing varieties of bread, cheese, caviar, exotic fruits, and on and on and on.  We spent a few Euros there. 

   Sunday, we explored the city on one of those hop-on-hop-off buses.  Brett was freezing because he didn't bring a proper winter coat even thought his wife told him to (another story).  He  found a street vendor selling fur hats and Communist memorabilia and bought a big furry hat made out of genuine some-kind-of-mammal.  I walked down the street because a) I've always been uncomfortable with bargaining for goods and b) I was afraid Brett would really buy a dead animal hat.  He did (and for a good price, he said).

On the bus, we found the most amazing flea market with old jewelry, silver, china and paintings.  They also had a bunch of furs for sale.  Tons of them---minks, fox, sable, etc.  And I found this one.  I love it so much and really regret that I didn't buy it because it was really reasonable, but it's so politcally incorrect.  And I'm always looking for another pet.  Plus this could be best friends to "Gregor" (Brett's hat) and my grandmother had a furry fox in our toy box when we were little.

All together, Berlin was amazing. I never thought I'd be able to visit this city or that it is now a united place.  Next trip is Cologne (Koln) for just a few days.  Then Lake Garda then Rome with some of our best friends and then back to the USA.  Did I ever think I would be living this life?  Mais non!


  1. I just went to Cologne in November. Not as nice as Berlin, but a great city with only one type of beer: Koelsch. There are no beer menus, you just order the Koelsch. There are different breweries that make it, but that's it. They have fabulous food and great shoppping. Have fun.

  2. I am so glad you are having a wonderful time!