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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Berlin: Day 1

Berlin Train Tix

The alarm tripped at 4:55, but I had already been awake for 15 minutes or so. Travel day has its way with me, for which I still hold the excitement of a child. Asia and I made it to Hlavni Nadrazi for our civilized train ride to Berlin on a GERMAN TRAIN with plenty of time to grab a couple of beers for the trip north to my ancestral FATHERLAND. The train left on time, and we were in an A/C car for a trip through 30-degree (CELCIUS !!) weather.

Mark Berlin Beer

A 5-hour+ train ride includes: The crack of a beer at 6:33 (this is my vacation, remember), reading, sleeping, listening to teenaged Czech girls gab-gab-gab, eating a nutritious brunch, racing through the Fatherland’s breadbasket, a snooze, and then … Berlin’s hauptbahnhof. A nice train with room to breath, and the time goes quickly.

Asia Berlin Train

David’s Cozy Little Backpacker’s Hostel is a place I stayed several years ago. This time, I got an apartment for Asia & Me thru the weekend for 130 euros. A steal, really. And just a couple blocks from the Underground to the Tiergarten and the Ku’dam shopping district. With a quick breather for touristing garb—shorts were a must, and also a hat in this blazing heat—we were off to have lunch and do what we both like to do best when in a foreign city: wander around.

Berlin Map

Little did we know that we would not get back to the apartment for another nine hours. Wow!

One order of business for this trip was used-book buying. Berlin has six used-book stores that stock grosse buchers. We wanted to hit at least four of them: mapped out, money in pocket, shopping lists in hand, we set out. (I’ll get back to this in another post)

The Kurfersterdam Strasse is Berlin’s swanky shopping avenue that stretches about a mile, and goes up to some famous church that was, basically, the only structure left after the Allied troops virtually obliterated Berlin to end WW II. Pretty cool.

Church Ruin

We took an U-bahn train to the East side, and found a 2.3-mile stretch of the Berlin Wall that stands as a monument to man’s cruelty and perseverence and blah, blah, blah (side note: in the Bundestag campus there is a building that is dedicated to Re-re-education: gotta love that!). This section of the wall has artists’ murals running its entire length. We walked it and took pictures, sat by the river, compared East with West, and wondered if our legs were going to fall off.

Asia on Bridge

On a bridge, the sunset made for a beautiful picture.

Bridge Sunset in Berlin

Then we got home and slept the sleep of the dead.

(more BERLIN posts to come, including “Tiergarten Picnic” … “Book Shopping” … “At the Fleamarket” … “The REAL EAST BERLIN” … … and … “Fox Paws”

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