Bonnie and Brian in front of the Berlin Wall
Warning: This is not an easy read, I mention a lot of heavy topics that are not going to brighten your day, and will probably depress it.
Our first day in Berlin we hit the ground running… well, walking. Â We love the Sandeman’s New Europe free walking tours and can’t recommend them enough. Â Our guide had majored in European history and minored in communism so she was really well informed and full of cool stories. She took us to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which was a replica of the Jewish cemetery we had seen in Prague – interesting, but very sobering. Â We also stood on top of the filled in bunker where Hitler had committed suicide. Â It started raining while we were standing there, slightly eerily. Berlin is filled with monuments and historical points dotting the city that are remnants of WW1, WW2 and the Cold War, but the city contrasts with itself by lining the streets with expensive stores and a materialistic atmosphere, like it’s trying hard to cover up the past.
Since we are about as cheesy as they come, we knew that eating a Hamburger in Hamburg was on our “to do” list for this year. Â We arranged a trip to northern Germany that allowed us to fly in to Hamburg, rent a car and drive to Mechow, and then return the car in Berlin where we would spend the rest of the weekend before flying back to Munich.
Our Å koda Octavia
Well, three months in and we finally flew on the Autobahn. Â I say “flew” because there is no way that the wheels of our car were actually touching the road. Â I know that Brian is a good driver, and I have full confidence in his abilities, but that didn’t stop me from squeezing my eyes shut and keeping my hands folded in prayer for the majority of the trip. Â The Autobahn is just the German interstate system and, while some of it is marked down to 130 kph (80 mph) most of it has no speed limit. Â It works out though, because they mainly use trains for the transportation of goods so there are very few trucks on the highway (I think we saw a total of 5 in 400 miles). Â But let me back up, because the purpose of the trip was not to fuel Brian’s childhood dream, but rather a romantic getaway weekend.
Beautiful fall in Munich
The last two weeks were peak foliage here in Munich, and I have to say, I am really grateful that it was. Â Even though we are thousands of miles from Upstate New York it felt a little bit like home. Â Spending an October without the Â changing leaves would have felt weird. Â To celebrate the wonderfulness that is Autumn, Brian and I headed to the Englischer Garten for a lovely walk. Â It has been really freeing to have bicycles, we just ride along the Isar river for 10 minutes and lock up our bikes right at the park entrance. Â We could bike the whole thing (all 27 kilometers) but then we wouldn’t have gotten the superb potato chip crunch of dead leaves under our feet.