Saturday, August 6, 2016

Berlin Week #2

We've made it another week in Berlin! It's been a little cold (in the 60s and low 70s!!) and rainy, so we've spent more and more time inside, but we've made it a point to get out and see our new home.  Speaking of homes, that house hunting update?  Well, I was hoping for some more definite and exciting news, but things are taking a while (very un-German).  We've found a place that we love and have gotten a verbal confirmation that it's ours, but the landlord is still looking the lease over, so we haven't signed anything yet.  We're hoping all of that will happen this week.  Inshallah. 

Anyways, while we've been waiting for our lease, we've taken to exploring the city.  We've gotten into quite the routine.  We wake up, go to the gym downstairs, go to lunch and then do some sightseeing.  We usually come back for an hour or two to hang out and rest (thanks for satisfying my introverted soul, Mike) before heading out for dinner and beer (the reason for the morning gym). 

On Sunday, we headed out to Alexanderplatz and museum island, which has four museums.  We only did two of them since we figured we would save some for when we have visitors.  Plus, we figured we had been to enough Pergamon museums/lived it.  We went to an art museum and a history museum, both of which were pretty interesting!

Monday, we went to the zoo! We thought it might rain, but we figured we'd risk it and it turned out to be a great day.  The zoo was beautiful and the animals were out and moving, which is always exciting.  We were also able to see the chimpanzees get fed, which had us laughing because they were just so freaking excited.  Don't worry guys, I get excited at meal time also!

I love zoos, but sometimes it creeps me out how similar we are to these big guys.  Plus, he looks so sad....

Mike and I saw this and both muttered "God bless America" at the same time.  Ain't that the truth!

Wednesday, we decided to go to the Topography of Terror museum, which is one of the many free World War II museums in Berlin.  This museum was extremely interesting and had TONS of information.  In fact, both Mike and I remarked that we wouldn't mind coming back again with guests because there is so much information that it will take multiple visits to cover it all.  There is a great exhibit outside along the actual Berlin wall which gives a great timeline, but the museum itself is inside and is fascinating.  While it's definitely not uplifting, it's extremely well done and informative.

 Thursday, we did the Sandaman's Free Walking Tour, which I highly recommend.  This was our second time doing it (we did it the first time we came to Berlin last fall) and it didn't disappoint.  We wanted to do it and brush up on our German history so when visitors come, we can give them the tour ourselves. Our tour guide was Canadian and just as informed and enthusiastic as the last one.  It was a little rainy this time around, so I didn't take a ton of pictures, but the tour ends at Humboldt University where Mike will be studying! Fun fact: there are lots of famous alumni, including 29 Nobel Prize winners, the brothers Grimm, and Albert Einstein (as a professor).

Friday was a rest day because the Berlin Beer Festival was that night! Mike's Christmas! It actually was a lot of fun.  There was live music, lots of good food and LOTS of beer.

Saturday had an early start (rough after a night at the beer festival).  Mike is an avid scuba diver and found a dive shop here in Berlin.  They do dives about once a month in the lakes surrounding Berlin, so we rented a car for the weekend and joined them for the dive that morning.  This lake was about a half hour away from the hotel.  We met the rest of the divers that morning, Mike suited up, and they headed out into the lake.  Like I said earlier, it's not so warm here and was in the 60s that morning, so I stayed on shore in my jeans and a sweat shirt and read the new Harry Potter.  I forgot how open and un-modest the Germans are and ended up seeing a lot of naked people going for a morning swim.  Welcome to Germany!

It's been a fun week here, although we're starting to go a little crazy in the hotel.  Hopefully, this week will bring a lease for us to sign, sunnier weather and lots of Olympics watching!