We sit in our cabin on the train to Berlin with a very kinky middle-aged woman in short boots, black lace stockings, short denim shorts and a sexy black & white top, she looks ready to hit he cabaret stage, but is actually a business traveler working on her computer. We have moved to the dining car — now there is a surprise! I have a wonderful plate of Nurnberg sausages and bread whilst Augustine has his favorite Goulash Soup. We dine and sip a lovely chardonnay while the German countryside goes by. The beautiful lush green fields filled with the most beautiful dairy cows. I so love the Fatherland and the lush bounties it offers.
I must confess that this train trip has turned tedious. We expected a fast train to Berlin; however, our train stops many times with many passengers getting off and on. We finally settle in the dining car for even if it is full of the sounds of clinking dishes and many conversations; it seems calmer than the up and down of passengers and luggage. Berlin will not come soon enough for me. We arrived fine and will rest well in our large comfortable room at the Hotel Ibis. We go to the grocery store and purchase 3 bottles of wine — one of which I promptly drink and off to bed!
Awoke early and begin our adventure in Berlin. We began with a wonderful breakfast at a gas station! Yes, a gas station. Wonderful food, exceptional coffee in a nice dining area served on china! Who would have thought! We make friends with the manager who loves her new American friends.
We then hopped on the tram and headed off on our exploration. WE switched from tram to train at Alexander Station and made our way to the Brandenburg Gate – Check Point Charlie. What history lies at our feet — it makes one realize how fleeting freedom can be. We watch as people walk freely back and forth from East to West and reflect on how many lost their lives attempting to cross this place. We find a young man who stamps our passports with the verfication stamps no longer necessary and gives us a day visa to cross into the West.
We sit under the flowering Linden trees and I quickly sing an old East German song “the branch of the Linden is leafy and green, the Rhine gives her gold to the sea; the morning will come with the world is mine — Tomorrow belongs to me!” We enjoy a Berliner Beer and I write post cards to the United States. We continue our walk to the Berliner Dom — a beautiful church that ws bombed during the war, and explore the crypt full of coffins from teh German Kings and Queens, many are coming apart and the crypt smells of death.
We enjoy a marvelous dinner at a sidewalk cafe: August with schnitzle and asparagus and I with knockwurst and kraut and a beautiful bottle of dry Riesling, sitting in the sun, remembering our day of exploration in Berlin. The transportation system is very interesting here. You buy a ticket that entitles you to the tram, bus and subway — both of which are necessary in order to move about the city. We explored every inch, I do believe.
Our last day in Berlin. We awoke at 6 A.M. and took a leisurely time getting ready for our day. Of course we had breakfast at our favorite cafe — the gas station! I must say the food is better than many a restaurant and the staff is so very pleasant and friendly. We hop the tram and then the train to West Berlin and find ourselves in the midst of some marathon being run in the city. We want to see the ruins of a bombed church, only to find it has been encased in aluminum for restoration!!! They do allow us in and it is spectacular.
We walk about and enter a chapel that has been constructed of the broken stained glass from the original church — what majesty shines though this glass and what pain it reflects.
We hop the train back to Alexander platz and switch to the tram to go back to the hotel.
We find a cafe down the street open and decide to dine at the “Do The Pop” (www.cafe-do-the-pop.de).
We sit outside with a white wine and a Berliner beer and have some luncheon, a spicy carrot soup and wonderful German bread.