Thank God For Spain July 10-19, 2008

I had learned while travelling with Katrina not to expect very warm weather. During our 9 days in Berlin visiting Derek the temperature never hit 20c. I was beginning to think winter was around the corner. Of course most of my packing was for hot weather as was Katrina’s. The mornings always showed great promise blue sky and sunshine but by noon it became overcast and cool, we wore many layers during that week.

Berlin is still the evolving city that I had seen last summer. The biggest change is the Palast der Republik (The Palace of the Republic), it will no longer exist, in fact as I write this it may no longer be there. Built in East Berlin where once the Berlin City Palace stood (damaged during WW II and later on demolished by the government in 1950. Now with unification the present day government is tearing down the Palast der Republik to allow for the re-construction of the Berlin City Palace. One part of the Palace still exists and that is the golden balcony which had been used for the Council of State building. It will be interesting to see what Berlin will look like once the re-construction of the Palace is completed, who will be standing on the balcony and speaking to the people of Germany?IMG_1510

Other highlights of our Berlin visit was biking down major streets of East Berlin with Derek as our tour guide. Sometimes we were right in the middle of traffic, what a way to spend your birthday!! No wonder I needed that glass of red wine after our tour. Derek took us to where old communist building that had been abandoned since the end of WW II, eventually taken over by squatters and now taken over by the government. There is one building that has remained with the squatters and they have turned it into quite a complex of bars and artisan shops. Sadly rumour has it the government wants to kick the squatters out, I am sure there will be quite the fight.

Just when you think you have seen and heard everything we came across two Bunkers one which is supposedly haunted and the other owned by someone who has built his home on top and will give tours upon making an appointment.

There were many things we saw that day the last remnants of a train station that was bombed,

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Watchtowers that look too small for even one persontower

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and the famous Rosenstrasse where the German women stood in protest to save their husbands from being sent to Concentration camps.

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My birthday was filled with history and ended with a beautiful dinner with Derek and Katrina.

Though there was seldom a day when it did not rain we still decided to try our hand at canoing outside of Berlin in Spreewald. This area is known for its pickles, when Germany was dividend this where East Berliners went for pickles. So now instead of finding hot dog stands we found pickle stands and were they big.

We discovered that they grow the pickles along the numerous canals that exist in the area and this is where we did our canoing.

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Very easy to get lost even with a map just take a look at Derek’s expression pretty well tells the story.

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It would not be fair to Berlin if I did not mention the great meals we enjoyed at the many ethnic restaurants that now grace the city of Berlin. The best part was that no matter what restaurant we went to, we were never rushed. One time we sat at our table for about 4 hours enjoying a Sunday Brunch which provided meals for breakfast, lunch and even supper. It goes without saying coffee and ice cream were always good.

Of course as always my stay with Derek was too short and I am looking forward to seeing him again. Next stop Barcelona for some heat that is why I titled it thank god for Spain one place where Katrina could not bring on the cold weather.

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Published in: on June 27, 2009 at 9:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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