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First Day in Berlin: Tour de Berlin








Tour de Berlin Tour de Berlin
 

The first day I arrived in Berlin, my brother and sister basically met me at the gate just after they rushed from putting his bags in her boot. Great timing. :) My sister was on a mission to show us Berlin and keep us awake so that we would not suffer the dreaded Jet Lag.  While Bro went outside for some fresh air with my bag, Sis and I went in search of caffeine.

I haven't spent a lot of time in German airports and train stations, but I have to tell you that they are something else. The variety of foods and restaurants and stores there are a treasure trove of sights and sounds and aromas of baked goods and chocolate and...well, lots. The current Berlin Tegel airport is pretty small, so I did not really notice it immediately (I might have been suffering JL already) but throughout our travels in Berlin I finally got the picture: Germans love to shop and eat!

After my Sis and I got outside with the goods, we saw my Bro wandering around, and we congratulated ourselves on making it across the Atlantic unscathed. Bro met a nice Indian IT guy on his way from Canada to the Homeland, and marveled at the service he had from the lovely Indian stewards. I was stuck on a shall-be-nameless Canadian airline where I was in economy next to a very quite girl trying to sleep (who hogged the middle seat) and a nearby crying baby. However, I digress. We noticed how nice it was outside the airport (unlike in Toronto) because there was a little eatery, and benches, and sculptures to see and ponder. So we did just that. And left my bag unattended.

While we talked and sauntered, we slowly turned around and noticed a group of uniformed men gathered around my suitcase, one of them urgently talking into his walky-talky.

"Je m'excuse, monsieur!" Drat, wrong language! "Entschuldigung!" (I think that means excuse me.)

We motioned that the bag belonged to us, and looked as apologetic as possible, and the guards looked satisfied and called off the bomb squad. Welcome to Berlin! I forgot that there is a little problem like terrorism that is actually-unlike Canada-very much a part of every day life for a European.

We got in Sis's Mercedes, ubiquitous in Germany, and tried to figure a way out of the parking garage. That was after trying to figure out how to pay for the parking ticket (not easy, as we all have very little German...or, shall we say, I am the only one who had classes which amounted to anything). So, as we were so close to the exit, we took it...but going the wrong way! If you are German, I apologize for not going in the right direction. I know that if we had seen another one of the guards, we would have been in big trouble.

Now, my sis is one of the best drivers out there...and she does not drive her car because Berlin has a fantastic subway and public transportation system. She is closer to work than I am right now, which is saying a lot. The U-Baun is fantastich! So,this is understandable: when trying to merge in rush-hour traffic, Sis "bumped" another car which had stopped for a red light (strangely located just after you turn onto a main road, on the corner). She and the other driver got out..and...the other driver waved her off. Apparently the damage was nothing, but Sis was worried. She thought we hit him well-and-good! Thankfully, and as I experienced a lot in my wanderings through Berlin, the people there are very nice!

After we dropped off suitcases and Barb finally found parking "near" her apartment, we took our first U-Baun ride to go to one of the shopping districts in Berlin. While Sis and Bro perused cameras (Sis had one "lost" while she was biking and touring using the S-Baun...who knows, really, as she finally admitted she was enjoying a night out and had had a couple of German beers...?) I stepped outside to soak in Berlin.

That's where these photos were taken. I was on Tauentzienstraße, a major street in Berlin, with all these cyclists and their gear and team cars whipping by. I finally realized that they were not in an actual Tour as some were not seriously pushing themselves (except the American team), and as we eventually saw, there were many teams on stationary bikes warming up, dressing and undressing (Hey! That's new. Nice chest!), and basically fighting for sidewalk space with all of the shoppers and business people. On this street is the very famous Harrods-like KaDeWe store. Unglaublich.

I figured out they must have been setting up for the Tour de Berlin. Here are more pics (click to embiggen):



I like the sculpture, called "Berlin." Sorry the rest of the photos are blurry. Wish I had a camera for sports with a higher F/stop!










Here is a picture of my brother and I outside of the bombed church on this street. I sent a few pictures during the trip of the inside, of the mosaics, if you remember. The church deserves a post of its own, which will come later. :) It is quite distinctive, as part of the street architecture:




After our fill of camera and window-shopping, we made our way through another part of Berlin, stopped for a pub beer, and finally ended up at the Sony Center, which is quite famous for its roof. My brother the engineer could tell you more about how it must of been made, and which part first and how difficult it must of been, but I can tell you that at night the roof was lit by pretty colours that changed from fuschia to purple and then blue...

We had burgers and fries...and of course, beer...and then started on our way home. My siblings were laughing at me because I got tipsy on a total of two beers! What can I say? It must have been the JL. We almost lost Bro as we dashed between U-Baun cars, and he claimed with incredulity that he looked down at OUR shopping briefly, looked up, and we were gone! That we tried to lose him on purpose! Not when you have our shopping bags, bro. ;)

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
randomdreams
Jun. 24th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
That's an odd bike race: lots of disc wheels but no aero bars. Usually it's both or neither. But those are some pretty cool pictures. I love the shot of the covered stadium -- at least, I assume that's what the last one is.
karena
Jun. 24th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
The roof covers an outdoor "square" surrounded by restaurants, shops, galleries and theatres. There's even an apartment building with the tiniest balconies, and I assume the tenants are told to keep things minimalistic and no drapes allowed!
karena
Jun. 25th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC)
I'll admit I posted the photos mostly for you. I know very little about racing. I've watched the Tour de France, and that's about it! Oh, and my sister during an Iron Man. :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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