Sunday, August 7, 2011
Berlin- the first 2 weeks
We did manage to move into our apartment the next day, and the landlord deducted the cost of the two nights in the hostel from the rent so everything worked out. The apartment is small, but is just what we need for our 8 week stay here. Except that it smells like dirty hippies have been smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day in here so we have been working on making it not smell like that. There is a little hallway when you enter and tot he left is the kitchen and bathroom and straight ahead opens into the big room where the bed, desk, couch and little wardrobe thing is. There are lots of windows so the sun shines in when there is a sunny day which is like never. This ended up costing us $35 (US dollars) a day, which is much cheaper than a hotel and cheaper than a hostel. We have a full kitchen so we can do all the cooking at home and there's a washer! No dryer, we have to hang the clothes on a drying rack but having a washer is so convenient, I reeaaallllyy want one in our apt when we get back to NYC but I don't know if that's going to happen.
The first thing we did after signing the lease was we went to ikea! Some things never change no matter where you are. We bought sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and a bunch of other stuff that I can't quite remember. Oh and a sunflower plant, we named her mrs. Burgermeister. If she had foursquare she would be the mayor of our apt. Then we went grocery shopping and stocked up on the basics. Grocery stores here don't refrigerate eggs. This kind of made me alarmed the first time we bought them but I guess it's pretty normal. Mustard also comes in a tube instead of a bottle. And we bought 20 bottles of .5 liter beers for 10€. we were pretty excited about that, that should last us a good amount of time.
We have been trying to see/do one thing a day to spread out all the sights over our stay. This proves to be a little difficult because the weather is not cooperating. Weve had maybe 4 days of sun the two weeks that we've been here. Eventually I just told bill that we had to start going out in the rain or we would never leave the house, and we spent 2 days in every mall in Berlin looking for a sweater because I was so tired of being cold all the time. We've done Brandenburg gate, east side gallery, checkpoint Charlie, the helmut newton photography museum, the zoo, Tiergarten, soviet war memorial, holocaust memorial.... Everything in this city is a war memorial it's really very sad. The concept of the Berlin wall is fascinating to me. I spent a couple hours reading about it after we went to the east side gallery, and the division between east and west is still very apparent today. The buildings are different, the stop lights are different, even the toilets are different. We live in kreuzberg which is on the east Berlin side and I can tell you that even the people are a little different. I can't believe that such a ridiculous medieval brainless concept was implemented that changed the way millions of people lived their lives for decades. That was the best thing you could do? A wall?
We also joined couchsurfers which is a website that people can either host a couch surfer in their home or you can be a couch surfer. Bill and are are neither of these two things but the group has a lot of meet ups in the city and encourages any type of traveler to come. They meet on Wednesday nights at a bar near our apt so we went last Wednesday and it was a lot of fun. We met people from Italy, Luxembourg, Lithuania, brazil, canary islands, Netherlands, other parts of Germany... There was a very diverse crowd. I asked one girl where she was from and she kind of paused and said, "well what does that mean anyways? I've been traveling for so long I'm not sure I know where I'm from really". This is something really new for us. It sounds very strange to people who know us but bill and I are a bit shy. We are not the type who will just strike up a conversation with strangers at a bar. I love meeting new people but really if it's a person being introduced to me by someone I know. Maybe because there are two of us so it's easier to just talk to each other. Maybe it's because bill and I have a mutual and general distain for the human race. either way, a meet up group is not something we have ever even thought of doing before. It's good to step outside your comfort zone a little bit and I'm glad we did.
I finally got bill to go to bikram yoga with me. Ive been pestering him for a year to go with me in Brooklyn and he relented last week. It is a good rainy day activity and a great workout, after going one time I think I have him hooked. He is the one bothering me about when the next class is. I've mentioned to him before that one day I'd like to take the teacher training course and become certified to teach and I think he is really into that idea now as well, which is good because I don't have the money to pay for it so now I can hit him up for the cash.
Dave returned from a trip to Barcelona, newly engaged with his fiancé! We were so excited for both of them. The last time bill and I were in Barcelona, visiting Dave, we got engaged so there must be something magical and romantic about that place :) we had dinner at their new apt on Friday night with 2 other couples to celebrate and after many bottles of wine and champagne and a night out at a club that ended with the sun coming up I spent yesterday moaning and groaning while we went to the Tiergarten. Yesterday was the nicest day weather wise that weve had yet so we had to go out and enjoy it. Today its back to being clouds but it's my birthday and there is a beer festival nearby that we are all going to later on in the afternoon, I hope the rain holds off for a couple more hours.