While Mom and Dad were here, we decided that we wanted to take a long weekend and go on a trip.  Mom and Dad started their trip in Switzerland, were headed to Austria, Switzerland, and a little bit of Italy after they were leaving us, so we decided to head to Berlin, Deutschland’s capital.

Russ took Friday off, so we began our long drive around 9:30 in the morning.  All in all, the drive to Berlin takes about 6 hours, not counting bathroom and eating breaks.  We did pretty well, only stopping twice.  Because we didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time at the rest areas, we ended up eating something very familiar.  McDonald’s!  Ich leibe es.  (I’m loving it). 

When we arrived in Berlin it was dreary and rainy.  Poor Russ pretty much drove the whole way through downpours and steady rain.  We rested for a little bit and then decided to head out to have a look around and to find something to eat for dinner. 

Eventually we wound up eating outside despite the rain, under a canopy of umbrellas at the restaurant “Deutsche Kuchen.”  Will saw a sign for all German cuisine and he ordered, “Let’s go!”  Our waiter was very funny.  “Well, well, American life in Berlin.”  The menu was even a little advanced for Russ and Lauren.  While we could pick out a few things, we decided we’d better ask for an English menu so that we didn’t end up ordering something with eyeballs.  When Lauren asked, “Haben Sie eine Speisekarte auf Englisch?,” our waiter raised his eyebrows and replied, “Naturlisch” and went off to find us some more readable menus.  Funnily, he left Lauren with a German menu and conversed with her in that manner during the dinner.  The Deutsche Kuchen was where we tried some of our very German cuisine that was mentioned in the previous post–Sauerbraten, sauerkraut with boiled potatoes, cooked red cabbage, weinerschnitzel, etc.  Oh!  And of course some good beer for the gentlemen.  We ordered Dad a Hefeweisen (wheat beer), but when Russ requested a Dunkel (very, very dark beer) the waiter asked again to make sure that’s what he wanted.  He didn’t want to surprise the American with anything more than he could handle!!

Deutsche Kuchen--It was rainy, but warm enough to sit outside under a canopy!


Russ and Lauren at Deutsche Kuchen in Berlin

 After dinner we wandered around a little bit more and then decided to retire for the evening. 

Russ and Lauren have become very thrifty in their adventures.  Instead of paying the exorbitant price for hotel breakfasts, they bring apples and grab a pastry at a local bakery for breakfast.  Lauren found her favorite Shokocrossoiants in Berlin.  (Yum, chocolate for breakfast!) For anyone who knows how Pam and Will travel, it will not shock you that they wouldn’t pay for the expensive breakfast either.  However, in true Pam and Will-style, they found a grocery store in which they purchased all their breakfast goodies the night before.  It was almost serendipitous for two tramps like them–the grocery store was directly beside our hotel!

The first place we headed was toward the Brandenburg Gate.  Lauren booked a “Hop On-Hop Off” tour to take everyone around the city.  It’s a great tour system because the guide gave information in English and German to people on the bus (double-decker/open-air on top!).  When they pulled over at various spots, we were free to get off and explore with the knowledge that in 15 minutes, another Hop On-Hop Off would be in that very spot.  Busses ran like that until 5 PM. 

Hop On-Hop Off Bus

The Brandenburg Gate


Pam at the Brandenburg Gate

The tour was really nice.  We had plenty of room up on top of the bus, and we could see everything beautifully. 

The Reichstag--German Government Building


The German "White House"

We hadn’t been riding for too long when Mom and Dad decided that they wanted to get off.  We didn’t think this would be a problem because the last time the bus stopped, it was on a 15 minute break.  However, this time, about 2 minutes after Pam and Will departed, our bus pulled away.  The looks on our faces must have been priceless–jaws dropped, fingers pointing.  I believe Russ was probably the only one thinking, “I knew that would happen.”

Pam with painted pieces of the Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall--Painted

Old Wall Left Standing

Entering the Old American Sector of the City--Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie--Russ and I got a real kick out of these "actors"

Holocaust Memorial

Inside the Holocaust Memorial--a very disorienting, claustrophobic feeling

Back at the Reichstag

Happy Travelers

Pretzel Snack on the Lawn of the Reichstag

At the conclusion of our tour we split up for a little bit.  Russ and Lauren walked around, had currywurst for lunch by the Brandenburg Gate, and ended up at the Volkswagen Display Room.  I know that all the LaBarcas are shocked by this. hehe.  I will not report on that here, however.  Russ will give a full blog later.

We all met back at the hotel later because we had a very special evening planned.  We had tickets to attend a Baroque concert and dinner at the Charlottenburg Palace.  Russ did a wonderful job of figuring out the public transportation to get us there, and we walked into a beautiful evening.

Charlottenburg Palace

Pam and Lauren at The Charlottenburg Palace



The OrangerieThe dinner and concert were to be held at The Orangerie (literally, an orange garden) of the castle. At the outside of the entrance we were met by the official summoner of the king. He was dressed in Baroque-style garb, powdered wig and all. Somehow, both photographers neglected to take pictures of the ensemble in their dress! Upon entering, we walked into the hall with rooms on both sides of us. To the right was the beautiful area in which the music would be played. The Orangerie Hall

The Music Hall

The Music Hall

To our left was a stand at which we checked in with our hostess.  Upon registering, we were led through ceiling to floor velvet curtains into the dining area.

The Dining Room

A Semi-Distracted Group

To begin, Russ and Will had beer, Pam had Coke Light, and Lauren had a mandarin-champagne.  She also ordered water for the table (which we needed because it was hot in there!).  The summoner announced each course as it came out (it was also written on a scroll of paper on our table), and the meal was truly fancy.  It took over 2 hours to be served.  The first course was a delicious, cold soup of melon and red pepper.  It was served with a dollop of sour cream on top.  Our second course was some sort of game hen wrapped in herbs and dough, served with glazed turnips and carrots.  For dessert, we had a melange with sour cherries. 

Russ and Lauren at Dinner


Pam and Will at Dinner

After dinner finished, we made our way to the music room. 

Music Room

The concert was fantastic!  Instruments of the era, opera singers, Handel and Mozart.  All in all, a beautiful night spent in good company.

Lauren tries her hand at royalty

Charlottenburg Palace at Night

We made our way back to the hotel and slept soundly.  The next morning we headed out of royalty and back to Heidenheim.  Berlin was great!
Would you like to see more pictures of our visit to Berlin?



4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Pam on August 17, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Another great entry, Lauren! It is extra special because we shared the experience with you.
    Thanks for helping us remember our trip in such a special way.


  2. Posted by Pam on August 17, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Great pictures, Russ!!!!!


  3. Posted by Elizabeth Edwards on August 19, 2010 at 5:49 am

    You are SO lucky to be able to see Berlin as it is now – without the wall! I am so wanting to return!


  4. Posted by DadL on September 4, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Great trip! The dinner and music in the Charlottenburg palace sounded especially nice.


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