he BC Blog - Berlin



We send out lots of email while we travel. In fact, of course, we send email much more often than we update the web. We can never quite remember who we told what to, so this page is meant as a sort of bulletin board for our most recent whereabouts, impressions, and comments while we work more slowly and deliberately on the permanent web pages.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 — Busy in Berlin

Berlin has been great. In spite of the cold, we found lots and lots of things to do. Our favorite was the Gemaelde Gallerie, Germany's National Art Gallery, which was free for four hours every Thursday evening, which we took full advantage of. We also immersed ourselves quite a bit in the history of the city with two visits to the "Typographie des Terrors" museum on the site of the former Nazi Chancellery, a visit to the Jewish Museum, a preview of the Holocaust Memorial that opened a month after we left, a visit to the History Museum housed in a former cathedral, and two out of town excursions, first to the site of the Wannsee conference where Hitler's thugs agreed on the "Final Solution" and second to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Not fun visits obviously, but absorbing and educational nonetheless. A more pleasant excursion was a day spent in Potsdam admiring Sanssouci and the Neue Palais built by and for Frederick the Great. We also spent an afternoon at Charlottenburg another royal palace but this time within Berlin's city boundaries.

March 24, 2005

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 — Bequem in Berlin

Even if you don't understand German, you must have understood that we are indeed in Berlin, capital of the reunited Germany. You might be wondering why, as we sometimes do, we didn't go back to Ecuador to complete our journey through South America to Buenos Aires. Well, having made it back to the USA, we looked at our options and decided that we had better choose somewhere en route to our known goal, Paris, rather than jetting off to South America for only two months. We were committed to be in Paris by March 23 and were already in mid-January so we had approximately two months to spare.

So Europe seemed like a good idea and it was only a question of where in Europe. We first thought of Spain, where we would be able to continue our education in Spanish language and culture. Gerry suggested one of the capitals of the former Eastern Europe as places of culture that we could perhaps afford. But then Jan remembered a comment made by a traveller in Chugchilan in the Ecuadoran Andes. He called Berlin the most affordable city in Europe. Could it be true? Gerry was enthusiastic. He had long wanted to have an opportunity to learn German properly. He had picked up lots of bits and pieces back when he used to visit Jan in Tuebingen, near Stuttgart. But that was more than 30 years ago (ugh!). Jan had always resisted a return to Germany, on the grounds that it was a place she knew. Now however, the time was right. Her German could certainly stand a brushing up and if we ever do get our translation company off the ground, it would be a good thing.

And so the search began. We got on the web and started surfing around, willing to accept any of the three possibilities: Spain, Germany, Eastern Europe. Nothing startling fell into our lap. We added Vienna to our list and called Jan's friend Jane from college days whose daughter lived there for some advice. It wasn't promising, but Jan did find some apartments that on a two-month basis would be affordable, but weren't available for the entire time.

Finally, one afternoon, Gerry checked Craig's list again. And lo and behold, there were a handful of ads for sublets in Berlin. Among them we found three candidates in terms of price but only one that really matched our dates well. It didn't have any photos of the apartment, but the price was right and the description seemed acceptable. We sent off emails not really expecting any reply but a few days later got not only an email but a phone call from the guy renting our first choice. To our surprise he was in New York City and so we went over there to meet him and sealed the deal.

Finding an acceptable airfare didn't take too long and so by February 1st we were on our way to Berlin. The appartment was OK, although much less well-furnished and equipped than we would have liked. Still, that gave us the opportunity to scour the local flea-markets for a minimum set of dishes and cooking pots and utensils, where we found such good deals that we didn't feel too bad about it. In fact, when we left it was a bit sad to have to leave behind some of the stuff that we'd grown quite fond of. At least the flat was warm. That was most important given the ambient temperature for most of our stay was around freezing. We only just had enough layers to allow us to go out in the cold and so it was really important to us to have a warm place to come home to.

March 20, 2005
BC Blog | Moscow | Paris | Berlin

July 20, 2005