Finding my feet in Berlin

Europe is enjoying a nice little heatwave, and even though I’ve worn jumpers for less than a month all up, I’m totally ready for the warmth and spending more time outdoors.

Gradually it’s getting easier to fill the free time I have while the kids are at school. Today I went for a run, baked brownies, went for a bike ride and started a scrapbook while watching some questionable German tv. It’s hard to know whether to be glad you understood all the details of the show (two siblings glued their hands together and their feet to a rug because they thought their parents might divorce and take a child each) or to be ashamed that you’re watching daytime tv. It made for some useful vocab learning I guess!

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An even better photo of the lake when I went cycling at sunset
In between drinking beer in the sun with other au pairs I’ve geeked out in some of the incredible museums Berlin has. Some of the things you read are fascinating, and some are so shocking. Yesterday I did a bike tour of the Mauerweg, so we cycled the route that the wall took through Berlin. I found out so many details that I hadn’t really known before.

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View of the Fernsehtürm (tv tower). It was built in the 70s, more to show off to the West than for the people of the DDR. On sunny days, the sun shines a cross onto it. The DDR didn’t want religion as the socialism was meant to be the religion, so the party leaders claimed in was a plus!
Looking at the last remainder of the wall, you can see there was the main wall, inner wall and fences, paths, towers and lights inbetween. There is gravel on the ground of the death strip so that it showed the footprints of those who walked on it. The wall is also rounded at the top, so there is a slight overhang. That meant that soldiers could stand on the west side of the wall (it had doors) and Westerners would be on DDR territory should they touch the wall. Personally I just can’t get over how close you can get to this bit of history, the people here were there for everything and it is just so recent!

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View from the document centre at Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
One Saturday we went on a day trip to Tropical Islands. This is basically a converted airship hangar, which houses a beach, swimming pools, a campsite, holiday chalets and the world’s largest indoor rainforest. Beforehand I was warned that it was a bit strange, but honestly nothing could have prepared me for just how weird a place it really was. The concept is perhaps not bad, but in reality, I felt like I was on the set of The Truman Show and those poor gardeners must have their work cut out there! Below the picture seems pretty cool and we did have lots of fun, but the lack of personal space, the lack of fresh air and the overwhelming number of men in more need of a bikini top than myself was enough forthat

visit!

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Forgot to add: there are water slides (nothing like Wet n Wild, Brie) and hot air balloon rides!
In other news the cat and I remain on peaceful terms, it has learI am not too comfortable with it in my room, whilst I’ve learnt to get used to it altogether. I’ve learnt that when people buy flowers as a gift, they wrap them fully in paper so the flowers aren’t at all visible, then they’re meant to unwrap them in the person’s hallway.

I went to an Anmeldung appointment last week, as it’s compulsory to register to live here. There I noticed that when people arrive in waiting rooms, they say hello to the group already sitting down and the whole group greets them back. Funny little things I guess!

That’s all for now, there’s an exciting trip this weekend so I can’t wait to write about that!

PS. If you’re wondering about those kids, it was really quick, easy and painless to detach them from eachother, the rug and the table leg which had been sawed off to fit in the ambulance. It was just a case of applying this special fluid, not that I’ll be trying it!

 

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