As Yannick and I had left New Zealand for our travels in June 2015, it's understandable that I was missing my family and friends, and vice-versa. My dad took advantage of some very reasonably-priced airline tickets to come and visit us in the UK. It would be a double-whammy trip: to see Yannick and me, but also to explore Europe a little as he had never been before.Working full time, Yannick only had weekends available in which to travel, so we decided that a couple of whirlwind weekend trips were just the ticket! Paris was a must, as dad wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, so we scheduled that in for the end of November. I picked Berlin as our first European jaunt because my dad is half-German, and it was a city that I had been intending to visit for quite some time.
Berlin, Germany (Berlin, Deutschland)
19 November 2016
The most sensible way for us to arrive in the Land of Deutsch was by air - though in order to catch our early morning flight we were rendered insensible.
We quickly found the train station where dad sampled his first German bretzel, and we set off for our hotel to drop off our cumbersome bags. Dad enjoyed the ride, as we were able to look out over some lovely sights from the window (such as the river and the Berliner Dom) and were regaled with jolly songs from a number of buskers. An unusual sight for all of us was several passengers who had brought beers on the train and were proceeding to drink them before noon! Alcohol on public transport sounds like a recipe for disaster and destruction to public property to me.
The area in which we were accommodating was in close proximity to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche, a church that had been heavily damaged in WWII. Though mostly restored, the spire was left in its ruined state as a reminder of the war. The church was surrounded by a Christmas market that was still being set up. A month after leaving Berlin, I read a news story (by which date the market was fully operational and very popular) in which a lorry driver ploughed through the market, leaving twelve people dead and numerous injured. It's terrifying to think that had we been in that exact same place just a few weeks before the attack.
After leaving our bags at the hotel, we went out in search of lunch and chose a well-reviewed Vietnamese restaurant. The sights and sounds of Berlin were new to each of us and we gazed about in wonder. Dad was using all the cameras he had brought along, including his DSLR, point-and-click, GoPro, and iPhone camera. You can never be too prepared.
Dare I say that the overcast sky threatening rain, tall spindly trees and signs written in faintly Gothic script had me feeling like a lost child in an old fairytale.
Today's post was almost called: Golden Ladies, Green Men, and Colourful Things You Should Not Do To Sausages