We drove around some more. We found parking at the site of the 1936 Olympics, but the stadium was closed. Around the stadium is a street name Jesse Owens Strasse. I explained to our hosts how ironic it was-Hitler's superior race lost to one black man. At 3pm we were expected at Siggy's family's. We were greeted with a lot of food. Frau Kesselman fussed over us with cakes and pastries (an entire table full). Herr Kesselman kept apologizing for his poor English (it's perfect). He enlightened us on the history of Berlin during and after the war. Jeff felt guilty about the comments on bombing and the division of the city. Yet, Herr Kesselman said they were happy to have the protection of the Americans and they were relieved when they found out they would be in the American sector in 1945.
We walked around to the neighbors, who are family members. Then we came back to bottles of wine and beer on the table. There was a bottle of California wine on the table in our honor. We stayed until 9pm. We were alittle peckish so we went to a favorite Italian restaurant nearby.
(Has anyone noticed the food theme? We just can't help ourselves.)
We then went to Ku'damm (Kurfurstendamm), this is the Champs Elysee of Berlin, since 1850. We walked to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a church bombed in the war and left as such to remind Berliners.
We needed to pick up some items for Birgit's dinner prep. This led us to Siggy's favorite snack shack. Pizza starting at 1.5 dm ($0.85). We had a few little pieces. Then we were headed back to the car when Jeff and I spotted someone making what we thought were burritos. We had to get one. Lavash-like bread with a dill-mayo- garlic sauce smeared on it, then gyro meat, lettuce-tomato-onion-cilantro mixture. all rolled up for 5dm. Yum. Birgit fixed Thai fish coconut soup and some milky tropical fruit tapioca dessert. Really good. Then we had drinks and listened to all the different music Siggy has, including a Welsh band.
We then walked to the Reichstag- the new capital building. The line to get in was too long for Siggy, so we walked toward the Victory Column to take pictures. Siggy showed us the soviet war memorial that was in the West and had been guarded by Soviet soldier, who in turn were guarded by British soldiers. Strange. Then we drove to the former East Berlin Fernsehturm tv tower. We took the 40 second elevator ride up 1200 feet. This afforded a panoramic view of Berlin.
We then drove to the KaDeWe department store of the west. We had some sweets (I got a huge poppyseed cake). I found the 1999 Heutchenreuther Egg and much cheaper here. Birgit bought some cheese. We then drove to an artsy area of Berlin and walked around in what looked like bombed out building converted into artist studios. We had a stop at the "Keyser Soze" bar. We tried to explain that to Birgit and Siggy as they had not seen Usual Suspects. We then went to a new Indian food restaurant. I had no reservations with regards to speaking English and I was rewarded with her queens english. We had a lovely meal and plenty of leftovers. The wind had picked up. Siggy said it was always colder because we were in the East side and the wind blows from Poland. :).
When Siggy and I returned to the flat, Birgit was home (her class was cancelled) and Jeff had finished his work. We headed out for an early-ish dinner to Nepal food in the Kreuzburg area. I don't know if I can describe the food, because I had a really good brothy soup with glass noodles and something not entirely unlike Irish lamb stew. Birgit had a chicken stew, Siggy had sauteed spinach with garlic, and Jeff had chicken with glass noodles. The menu said the food was "scharf" but we were all sadly disappointed especially after the Indian food from last night. We walked around and found a comic book shop. Mostly in English until we were directed to the German stuff. Greg, you will have your work cut out for you when we get home. We then went to a bar-lounge. The decor was funky. The guys had beer and the girls got hot choco. The evening was getting very cold 0 C(that's 30 degrees folks). We went back to the flat and Birgit made us a local drink. Then Jeff mixed margaritas and martinis. We danced and drank until 1.
Jeff braved driving around Berlin on his own and found his way back to the flat. Since the Turkish food is so good, I wanted it again. That is a must to find when we get home. We went to have Turkish food from the Anatol region. They cook there food in clay pots in a very hot wood fired oven. The waiter spoke perfect English and German. He played a little joke on me. He brought all the food and uncovered the pots. I was looking in mine and took a bite. It was cold. The whole kitchen started laughing. Then he brought my dish, lamb. Later he read Birgit's fortune in the turkish coffee dregs. We played a joke on him and left 10dm rolled in a dollar bill.
October 22-26, 1999