Mark had pre booked Berlin sightseeing bus tickets for the 6 of us prior to leaving the US and today was day one of our two day ticket. After a good nights sleep and everyone felling a little less jetlagged today, we met in the lobby at 10am and headed out of the front of the hotel to take the bus.
The weather wasn't great, grey clouds, cold wind and a few spots of rain. It didn't stop us taking seats on the top deck of the bus and fortunately the roof cover was on! The hotel was stop 12 of about a 25 stop route, after a few stops we decided to stay on the bus tour and do the full loop at first but then changed our mind and got off at lunchtime at the KaDeWa.
Kim, freezing cold! Mark, Kim and Joe on the bus Oh did we have fun with the language!
The KaDeWe is Berlins version of Harrods and has the most amazing food floor full of amazing fresh foods. Breads, desserts, meat, candy, there's anything you can think of. There's also lots of small cooking stations around the floor where you can take a seat and have a plate of some of the food that they sell! there's a pasta station, dessert station but we chose to take a seat at the Champagne bar they have right in the middle of the floor!
The Gunzingers outside KaDeWe Awwwww:)
Wendy and her husband Chris had flown in this morning and arrived around 7am, they had decided to get some sleep before coming out to play later on that night. We’d been messaging during the day and arranged to meet at our hotel around 6pm to all go out for dinner. Ole was due in today too at 2pm and was coming with his mom, again, we arrange to meet him at the hotel at 6. As we wandered around the floor of the store we spotted a small ticket outlet in the store, i had a couple of friends still needing tickets so asked what they had available, unfortunately they didn't have any on the floor, only on the 2nd tier. I also asked if we could have the poster they had on display but was told it was their only one. Didn't stop Joe and i pulling the corner up just to see how well they had it fixed in:)
Kami, Roger, Elton and Kim! Joe and Roger
After having champagne and lunch in the KaDeWe we headed out of the store to catch the sightseeing bus again. Joe decided to take a wander off on his own and lost us, it took us 25 minutes to find him when he wandered back to where we all were saying he had been there and couldn't find us so had been outside, downstairs and all over looking for us (this became a bit of a theme during the vacation!)
Since going in the store it has started raining pretty heavily, fortunately the bus that arrived had the roof pulled on the top. The bus has an audio system like a lot of sightseeing buses, you plug a pair of personal headphones in, select your language from a digital panel in front of you and then listen as the tour goes on. Changing the channel on Marks system to French without him knowing was the first step. he was in front of Kami and i and with a little distraction to the right, i lent over the left and moved the channel selector down to number 3 but making sure i did it when there was no audio coming through the headphones! Kami and i sat back and waited as the audio came back on, however, we waited, and waited and waited! What was probably 10 minutes later Mark turned around and looked at us with a huge grin on his face, admitting that it had taken him all that time to even realise he was listening to the French channel! This became the fun thing to do, Beth being the easiest target, easily distracted and no idea why her language kept changing to Japanese and German without her touching it! What turned into an even funnier event was watching Beth trying to change everyone else's without them knowing it was kind of like “Simon, look there's a bird in the sky” Beth points finger her up to the roof then leans over and tries to change mine and Kami pulling her headphones out of her ears as she does so!
I’ve been to Berlin several times before and even taken the bus tour twice before, i still enjoy it though. Berlins such a big city that the only way to see it really is to do one of the bus tours. I get a text from Wendy, all it says is “Berlin is a dump” She had only been here a few hours and already had an impression of the city! She later decided she loved i though!
I don't think these pictures that Wendy took increased her love for Berlin at the start.
There are some beautiful building in the city, its a huge mix of steel, concrete, stone, brick and every other type of building material. you have to remember it was two cities originally and when the wall came down it became one huge spread out place!
Our next stop we decided to get off at was the largest section still standing of the old Berlin wall. Again I've seen this a few times before and always enjoy walking the length of it seeing the murals painted all along the Eastern side.
The highlight without a doubt for any Floyd fan though is the mural of “The Wall on the wall! I saw this first in 2002 and the paint was in a pretty bad way, however i saw it again in 2011 and it had been repainted and looked great!
Gunzingers doing throwing the hammers! Kami and myself Kami breaking the wall
Beth being Mother! Love this picture. Mark and Beth embrace each other:)
The six of us walked the full length of the mural wall and as we got towards the end it started to rain heavily, we walked over to the Ostbahnhof railway station and took the train back to Alexanderplatz where our hotel was. I knew of a large Gelato store in the station and the six of us had our first Gelato in Germany on day 2 of our vacation.
We got back to the hotel around 4:30, I’d been messaging Ole during the day, he had arrived with his mom and was staying in the sae hotel. Kami, Kim, Joe and i sat and had a quick drink with Ole before heading up to the room to get freshened up before heading back down to meet Wendy and Chris and everyone else for dinner. Id spotted a place out of our hotel room window that looked like it could be a good place to eat, it was a beer garden type place with an outdoor patio, however the weather wasn't great but i kept it in mind for later on.
We headed down to the bar around 6pm to wait for Wendy and Chris. Ole, his mom and her friends were having a bite to eat in the bar, we joined them for drinks with Kim, Joe, Mark and Beth. Wendy was late getting to the hotel, her and Chris had walked from their place and it had taken them a bit longer than expected. They were renting a private apartment about 2 miles away from our hotel, they do this a lot and did it in Paris which is where i had run in with the curtain in their bedroom one night when i got drunk in Paris in 2011 but that's another story i think i will save for the book!
Around 6:30 Wendy and Chris arrived, it was great to see them again, it had been several months since I’d seen them, Wendy is my BFF, we message everyday and had been messaging for months about this Germany trip, had it not been for my persistence she wouldn't have been there but i was ever so glad her and Chris were. Before we headed out, Chris and Wendy came up to our room to see the view. Not sure if i mentioned in an earlier post but our hotel room had like a glass bubble in one corner which was the bathroom with shower, toilet and sing in, there was every little privacy and when Wendy said she had to use the bathroom, i said “sure, its over there” and watched her face as she looking in through the glass wall that had 2 or 3 strips of frosted vinyl on the outside just to give a little bit of privacy!
Wendys view of Kami, myself and Chris watching her watching us!
After Wendy making an exhibition of herself and not in the way she normally does! we headed downstairs and all headed out to the beer garden place I’d seen out of the hotel room. It was only a 5 minute walk across the pedestrian area and across the main highway. As we went up the stairs the sign on the doorway read “sorry, our machine is broken, only cash” the nine of us all looked at each other and started to dig deep in our pockets! We decided we could just about make dinner and drinks in cash between us all and sat down at a long table for our first meal together in Germany.
Ole, Kim and Joe Mark and Beth Kami and I
Wendy, Chris, Ole, Kim and Joe Ole, Kim, Joe and beer glasses as big as Ole’s head!
We had a fantastic traditional German meal, Wendy having roast pork Mark having the ham knuckle, and i had a plate full of assorted sausages with a huge pile of red cabbage, this proved to be the dish Kami and i became to love in Germany. I don't really drink beer and Germany pretty much runs on beer! Wendy asked how the Chardonnay was, the wait shook his head and replied” not good, you don't want our Chardonnay!” We ignored his warning and ordered a glass anyway, it wasn't bad but it wasn't the best.
After a fantastic first meal out together we headed down the street to find a cocktail bar, it was throwing it down with rain, the one bar we found stunk of smoke(as do most places in Germany!) so we decided to head back to the hotel bar and get drinks there. There was a guy playing the piano in the hotel bar and we all immediately got on to Joe to get up there and ask if he could play Nobody Home or some other Wall related track. Joe took a bit of pushing but got up eventually and the guy was more than happy to let him do his stuff on the ivory keys.
There was one guy in the bar that recognised what Joe was playing and had a chat with us from the table across, he was going to the show and also to the Dusseldorf show later in the week. Kami has spotted another type of “entertainment” in the bar and as i turned and looked at her on my right she was getting a shoulder, neck and head massage!! There was a young girl that went around people in the bar and offered her massage services for no set fee, just a donation! We had all been sitting and walking all day in the cold weather and without a hint of hesitation i gestured to her that i would be her next customer when she had finished with Kami!
20 minutes later and she moved over to me and started to rub the back of my head with her warm oily hands, WOW! it felt amazing, in fact it was so good that for 10 minutes i totally zoned out and was asleep without even knowing it but oh boy did i know it when i woke up and saw the pictures that everyone else had taken!! Mark and Beth had gone up to their room to bed and i hadn't even noticed, everyone else had been having lots of fun at my expense and taken pictures to prove it! i cannot honestly remember a thing about these pictures been taken on my own camera! I’ll get them all back one day:)
As some of you will have seen, there's a picture in a post below that my friend Tony did in anticipation that i will turn the blog into a book, well now you know where he got the picture from that he started with!
Day 2 album of pictures at the link below: