Mike and I recently celebrated our one-year anniversary! Woohoo! 🙂 I vacillate between thinking, “woah! That was fast!” And, “how on Earth has it only been a year? I feel like I’ve known him forever! I can’t remember what it was like without him!” Just before our anniversary, we got our go-date for moving to Germany, so we had the beginnings of that plan, at least, for heading into our second year of marriage. Dangerous, indeed! I racked my brain – anniversary present… Germany… anniversary present… Mike… anniversary present… Germany… 1st anniversary=paper?!? Germany… You can see I wasn’t getting very far. I needed to be the best-wife-ever, though, so it had to be good. JACKPOT! The world was working with me (for a change), and a couple of Radiohead concerts had been rescheduled for the end of September – 3 weeks after our go-date! Radiohead in Berlin! HURRAH! I AM THE BEST WIFE EVER! (or at least the best wife Mike has ever had…)
Neither of us are great at planning adventures ahead. It’s a skill we are looking to improve on in the very near future, indeed. In general, though, we have interesting experiences in spite of our lack of planning. When we went to Paris last year, we showed up with really only a place to stay and our luggage. It was rather lovely, though, just to wander the streets and say, “What lovely thing in Paris would you like to see today?” (I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to wake up and say that?!?) In any case, my point is that we have a habit of seeing what happens when we don’t have a very concrete plan. We arrived in Germany with the only plan being that we would go to Berlin at the end of September (this is going to be divided into several posts; too much goodness at one time is just too much; also the photo uploader is being a grinch, and it isn’t showing all of my pictures! :-(). Did we have a hotel? No. Did we have plans about how to get to Berlin? No. We were definitely winging it.
Our 1st week here, we asked the relocation people about how they would get to Berlin. Definitely not drive, they say. What did we do? We drove. 5.5 hours, actually. Over the river(s) and through the woods ;(And across the mountains), to Radiohead we go (and Berlin). The drive really wasn’t bad, other than being 5.5 hours each way. We even saw a large group of skydivers on the way! Very cool…
I found us a hotel about 3 days ahead of time. On all of the booking websites, I kept seeing a reminder: “Several events in the city this weekend. Hotels booking fast.” I smirked to myself, oh marketing… It is the same everywhere. Actually, not so much. The Berlin Marathon was in the city on Sunday! So exciting! I think it is the first marathon I’ve ever watched that I wasn’t running! Our hotel was in the much ballyhooed section of Berlin called Alexanderplatz. Taking its name from a Russian emperor (Alexander I), Alexanderplatz (Alex) was a major park of East Berlin’s life prior to reunification, and continues to be a pretty major hub. You aren’t going to mistake this area for Frankfurt, though. The two couldn’t be more different if they tried. Alex still has a very strong feel for it’s roots under Soviet leadership (architecturally).
Alex is also very well known for being the home of the Fehnsehturm (TV Tower), which I learned is the second tallest structure in Europe. Our lack of planning bit us in the rear on that: tickets were all sold out. 😦 So… no fear-inducing heights for Mike. Due to the marathon, the tours weren’t operating during the hours that we were available either, so we had to do what we do best (or at least most): explore on our own!
- The Prussian House of Lords, up close and personal. This building is the seat of the Bundesrat, a legislative body representing the 16 states of Germany “Länder.” Along with the Bundesrat (delegates of state government), the Bundestag (directly elected officials) comprise the legislative wing of the government.
We left with a resolve to come back. With better planning. This city is absolutely incredible, and deserves more than around 24 hours… So, a-planning we shall go!