Surprisingly, everyone was up early (since they didn’t enjoy the club, they made it home at a decent hour). They were up in time to have the hostel’s breakfast then everyone had planned out an itinerary for their own groups of five. The boys went up to the highest man made mountain overlooking the city, at an abandoned radio tower,
Gruneberg. Joel went with, and they took amazing pictures.
Another group was searching out Diane Arbus’ show at one of the 117 museums, they had tried yesterday but got lost on an adventure for 4 hours.
Another group planned to go on a boat ride, but didn’t choose to wait for an hour for the next boat to arrive, so they went down to Potsdamer Platz and had another view of the columns.
Then went walking through Tiergarten Park, and found an area with nude bathers (“mostly gross men”).
The evening was on their own, and since most had eaten a large lunch of the authentic Deutsch dish of burritos, they chose the German dish of Pizza to satisfy their local culinary palate.
The evening began with thunder and lightening, and then a rain storm arrived, all night. The boys were the only ones who wanted to venture into the night wetness.
I alerted everyone to the 6:15 wake up call, and planned to meet them in the lobby at 7 am.
At 6:15, I didn’t have to bang on the door at all on all 4 rooms! Everyone was already up and moving around.
When I arrived into the lobby 3 kids were already there. No time for me to find coffee!!! At 7:02, I did a head count, and Holy Scott, the group was all there! 7:02 am! Awards will be given!
At the train station, after deciding how to get to the right platform, they trucked off to get breakfast while I watched the bags. Their breakfasts consisted of Mc Flurries and McSausage Sandwiches. Hopefully, dinner will provide them with more nourishing flavors.
Trains: Platform 13 was announced, and after 2 trains pulled in, ours finally showed. Getting used to how trains come and go so quickly is nerve wracking, especially if you don’t know which one is yours. The Russian writing on the first train alerted to us that maybe it wasn’t headed to Amsterdam. The second train didn’t stop near enough to our position on the platform to try to find coach #6, so we didn’t even have a chance to get on it, and then train #3 showed up and the conductor led us to Coach #6. Each train coach has 120 seats and the way the train company books the trains, is that each city, at arrival, fills up one coach, as the platforms are not as long as the train. So, basically there are 120 people fighting to get into their seats (it is as tight as a plane, so it is impossible for luggage to pass by each other and there are two directions). I have asked Joel to film it on the next leg of the trip because this is where all the drama comes in!
Elements of Traveling Drama: (There’s the morning stress, the walking with heavy luggage stress, the learning how to travel in a group stress, the learning how to read maps at a train station stress, the waiting at the wrong platform stress, the almost boarding the wrong train stress, the finding your seat, but with Indians who don’t speak English in front of you stress. Then there’s the drifters looking to steal your reserved seat stress, and others’ luggage in your way stress and then trying to lift your heavy duffel bag above you stress while someone wants to shove past you stress and then someone (teacher) asks you a question and BONG the talons come out. I counted heads, found the 3 that boarded the wrong coach, led them to their seats and I was out of there. My seat was half way down the coach, as I gave Hannah, our late sign up my seat, so she could sit with the kids.
Yet, now, looking down the train, 20 minutes out of Berlin, I didn’t see stress at all, I saw 18 sleeping babies. Remember those days when the temper tantrums exceeded your love and then they fell asleep and they were angels….That is how I feel right now. I will savor this 7 hours on the train.
Berlin was a beautiful stop on this trip, and one of the only ones, which will present us with such an array of architecture. The city showed both the devastation of mankind’s destructive side, as most of the buildings were modern.
It showed the artistic side of mankind, as the museums were filled with ancient and modern artist’s work. (This picture is from infamous 70’s director/photographer Larry Clark, the kids did NOT go to this show, but Joel and I did, it was powerful and made me want to throw up and cry).
It showed the brilliance of mankind, as the architecture of the Berliner Dom is absolutely massive in its size and beauty,
It showed it’s eclectic acceptance and love of mankind as families strolled down the cobblestoned sidewalks with their young children on bikes, leading them to the most child nurturing parks, in a neighborhood where all the apartments were tagged as if it was a ghetto.
The orange blossom trees lined all of the streets and the feeling of big city meets small neighborhood was mostly apparent one mile out of the major city center, and I am so proud of the travelers who went exploring further than the one mile radius.