Day 12: A Special Day With My Family in Berlin
Discovering a new city while traveling is always a wonderful experience, but for me, today was extra special. We got what felt like a full day VIP tour with my nephew, his wife, and their adorable daughter, Elizabeth, who are living here in Berlin.
We started right off with a sightseeing cruise on the River Spree. With an English audioguide, we got a great orientation from the water in our open air canal boat. Berlin is a city of contrasts. The old blends in with the new and in many ways it's an ongoing construction sight. At one point along the river I counted nine construction cranes towering in the distance. All along the waterfront people were biking or just relaxing at cafes or in lounge chairs on the water's edge,
At Gendarmenmarkt we enjoyed a real Berlin treat-currywurst. It's a sliced pork sausage with a delicious tomato sauce seasoned with curry. It comes served with a side of fries.
Since it was such a beautiful day our tour continued by car where we saw Charlottenburg Palace, statues of past German leaders, embassies of all different styles of architecture, museums housed in magnificent buildings, remnants of the Berlin Wall, and the location of Hitler's bunker. Many of the buildings we saw had been completely rebuilt after the war or were undergoing restoration.
Just a 45 minute drive from Berlin is Potsdam. Sanssouci Palace was the summer residence of Frederick the Great during the 18th century. We strolled through the beautiful gardens with fountains, flowers, and grape arbors. Beside the palace is a historic wooden windmill built in a Dutch style in 1791 . As is with many historic places we have visited this summer, the original burned down in 1945 . It was rebuilt in 1993.
Less busy but equally beautiful is the New Palace at Sanssouci built by Frederick the Great in 1763-69. As you can see in the photos, My niece Elizabeth loved the fountains.
Dinner tonight was at Schnitzelei. We were welcomed with a small beer and an apple juice for Elizabeth. We knew it was a kid friendly place when they brought a coloring book and colored pencils for Elizabeth and told her there was a special surprise from the kitchen if she colored the picture. Elizabeth is only three years old yet at her school independence is strongly encouraged. She is expected to change into exercise clothes on her own for sports classes and to dress herself to go outside in the winter for recess. Unlike in Massachusetts, kids at Elizabeth's school go outside even on the coldest days of winter.
Our evening ended with a drive back into the city, The buildings looked beautiful against the backdrop of a red sunset. Many thanks to our family for this truly memorable day.