Saturday, December 4, 2010

Berlin: Tschuss and thanks for an awesome time . . .

Well, it's been a fabulous 3 weeks and my 2010 Vibrant Europe trip fulfilled all of my expectations. 

On my last full day in Berlin I decided to really take it easy.  Here is my familiar walk down to the U station stop. I'll miss it!

I first started my last full day in Berlin with taking Shannon's advice and checking out the farmers market in Schoenburg (located in Winterfeldtplatz). It was pretty cool. I had a nice hot toddy and checked out all the stalls. I bought a couple of socks and a little coin purse and took some photos. Thanks Shannon for the great recommendation it was fun checking out this market and it was a really welcoming neighborhood that I had not visited yet.

Next I went to check out Kunsthaus Tacheles which is a former department store turned artist studio/museum.  It is one of the most caotic, bizarre, colorful, expressive, creative, disturbed and earthy display of art that I have ever seen. At first sight you just want to turn away (actually run away) and yet you are drawn in to the courtyard to see the many sculptures and rundown old shacks and vehicles. You are drawn up the dark stairwell where the walls are covered with grafitti and art.  Sometimes I'm not sure which was which.  But when I think of the history and the freedom for artists to be able to express themselves after years of repression, I can sort of get it.

Here are a few photos . . .

I decided to have an early dinner at the family owned Thai restaurant in my neighborhood then end with a nice hot Toddy at the restaurant in the park next to my apartment. I shared a table with a mother and her son whose cheeks were so red from the cold. So cute! 

Today was a beautiful day, the sun actually came up and it warmed up a bit. So all the families were out with their children snow sledding in the park.

I once saw a video and the person making it said that Berlin is an evolving city with many faces. During my short stay here I can see why she made that statement.  Berlin is as diverse a city as say Amsterdam. I saw many faces here and I saw so many things that proves that it is a city that is continually evolving. There are old and new. There are rennovated and rebuilt. There are berliners who are as diverse as the city.  There are reminders of the past and movement towards a better future.    

I was not able to get to all of my must see's on this short trip simply because it is impossible unless you're just whizzing by snapping photos. I decided that if I didn't get to everything I will just have to come back. It was more important for me to savor my experiences.

Thank you so much Berlin for a fabulous time!  I shall remember and cherish my time here forever.

Well, it's time for me to finish packing as I have an early flight out tomorrow morning.

I want to take this time to say thank you so much to all of my blogging friends and fellow Slow Travelers for taking the time to read my blog and for all of your fantastic recommendations and travel tips and advice before and during my trip. Thank you so for your encouragements, your support and for sharing so much of your own experiences.  I could not have enjoyed the experiences I had on this trip without all of you.  And I always want to thank Pauline Kenny (founder of Slow Travel) for creating Slow Travel.  It has really changed my life. And as always, thanks so much to my family, friends and co-workers back home for all of your support and encouragements.

I can't even begin to summarize this trip, but here goes....I will remember my beautiful canal in Amsterdam and the amazing dutch architecture and windmills of Zaanse Schans. I will remember Van Gogh's Sunflowers and the very interesting museums in Amsterdam :), I will remember my contemplative moments in the Church of our Lady in Brugge, Belgium. I will remember riding my Dutch bike in Vondelpark (and luckily not crashing), I will remember the many markets that I've visited both in Amsterdam and Berlin.  And I will forever remember a young girl's words while standing in her darkened room.

In Berlin, I will remember the smile of my good samaritan hottie who helped me find my apartment when I was lost my first night.  I will remember standing by a wall that once stood to divide East and West. I will remember my 360 degree view of an amazing city. I will remember a memorial to so many who were killed. I will remember the grandeur of  the Brandenburg Gate where the celebrations took place when the wall finally came down.  Lastly, I will remember my very cool neighborhood that used to be in what was once former East Berlin.  I watched the families and children playing outside and I am thankful for this day . . .

Thank you everyone for everything.  And I am looking forward to catching up with you all when I get home. 

So now I leave you with this final live blog post from the road.  And on my long (and I mean looooong) journey back home I will think about where my next adventures will be. 

And the dream lives on . . . 


  1. It all sounds so magical. I love the feeling of winter and all your photos. Thank YOU for taking the time to share your travels. I admire you for all that you ahve planned and executed in three weeks. You've seen and done so much. Safe travels home.

  2. Amen, sista: the dream does live on! So glad you were safe and have wonderful memories of this part of the world. Thanks for taking me along. See ya in the US!

  3. Thanks for bringing us with you, Kathy -- you packed in some very beautiful sites, and wonderful cities.

    Hope you have a good trip home!

  4. Welcome home Kathy. I am seriously bummed your trip is over because I enjoyed reading about your experiences so much.

    Once again I hope you can go back to Berlin in warmer weather. In the back of Tacheles they actually have a bar, where Berliners have beers among discarded tires, old beat up furniture, and more graffiti.

    Who knows maybe our paths will meet there someday. You have made me want to go back to all three cities asap!

  5. Hi Everyone, I'm baaaaaack! Thanks everyone for all of your welcome homes and comments and for reading my blog while on the road. It will actually be fun for me to re-read them on my big computer screen and to see all of my hundreds of photos. Reading your comments on the road was very special and I really wanted to comment back. I loved getting tip while on the fly and tried to include as many of them as I could because I knew it would enhance my experiences.

    Barb, thanks so much for reading my blog and for your comments. What a fantastic adventure it was. :)

    M, amen back sister girl. :) Yes the dreams always has to live on. :) Thanks so much for your comments and for taking the time to ready my blog. it was a blast!

    Sandra, thanks so much for your comments. You and Shannon were right about Berlin. I loved it.

    Shannon, I would love to get back to Berlin during the warmer months and cross paths with you to kick it over some drinks at Tacheles. I think I may have seen that bar in the back yard although it was hard to tell with all the snow and no one sitting there drinking. :) did it have a beat up old VW bus a bar table with stools and a pink flamingo? :) That is one crazy cool looking place and I knew it would be when I saw it on youtube and learned that you went. There were several sculpture artists there but other than that it was just us tourists looking around so didn't get to see the really cool side of the place with all the locals drinking. They had some music playing and the lights were off. The other place I think would be so cool is that YAAM yard with their concerts late at night. I almost went one night but then stopped off at Alexanderplatz for a toddy and to hang out and well...never made it to YAAM. those are three great places to visit and so close to each other. The 6 hour train ride to Belin wasn't bad at all. I had only one train change and took the faster ICE Express. I'm sooooo glad I took the extra week that my supervisor gave me to make it to Berlin on this trip. The snow and cold was a surprise even to me. It may have slowed me down a bit but I didn't let it stop me. :) Thanks again for all of your tips and recs. It really helped so much.

    thanks again everyone. It was a great trip. I'm glad to be back home. And now for the fun jet lag and back to work part...

  6. Welcome home! I really enjoyed reading about your travels and seeing your pics. Good luck with the jet lag (it took me almost a week to get adjusted and my trip was shorter than yours!).

  7. Hi Annie, thanks so much for your comments, reading my blog and for your tips and recommendations for Amsterdam. They were very helpful. I loved the indonesian food there a lot. I have a feeling it will take me a while to adjust back to this time zone also. The first night I knocked out and slept straight through because I think I was so tire but today of course I was wide awake at 1 in the morning and only finally fell asleep a little maybe around 3 or so and now I'm up to get to work a little earlier. :)


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.