Berlin Experience – Mauer Park and More

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Little girl dancing to the Karioke in Mauer Park
Little girl dancing to the Karioke in Mauer Park

We have been in Berlin for a week now and I haven’t blogged that much. We have been pretty busy, but we’ve also been very tired. This has been a long journey, one that we will never forget and one that has deeply changed us all. Over the past week we have seen much of the highlights of Berlin and Noah has now taken up photography with his sister. Everywhere we have gone he wants to use my camera so he can start taking pictures too, like his sister and his father. He is very excited about his new Instagram account that his sister helped him set up.

Mauer Park karioke host
Mauer Park karioke host

Since my last blog post we have seen so much. We got some rain for a few days, but it seems like the weather man will be our friend for the next week to 10 days. The weather yesterday was amazing and today looks the same. One of our best experiences in Berlin was on Sunday. First, the kids were invited to a Jewish Youth Group meeting in the city by our landlord. They got to meet other teens and had a great time. After that we met up with Maxa’s son Moritz. Maxa is the librarian at the school in Istanbul that we visited back in March. Maxa wanted us to meet Moritz and we had a really nice time. We told him that we had heard about Mauer Park and thought we should go there. That was a great decision!

Ilise and the kids having fun in Berlin
Ilise and the kids having fun in Berlin

We arrived at this immense playground for the people of Berlin. This is a park that at one time was right on the border of East and West Berlin. The center attraction on Sunday’s seems to be a karaoke guy who sets up in front of a small outdoor amphitheater. The experience was amazing, watching at least 1,000 people enjoying themselves on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the park. People got up and sang, the croud laughed and cheered and everyone had a great time. At the end the host sand an old sing a long song that was just amazing. All of us were thoroughly entertained. In addition to the karaoke there were other musicians and street performers all over the park. People were drinking openly, which is totally legal in Berlin, and there were food vendors everywhere. Ilise and Drew had veggie burgers while Noah and I opted for the brats.  All in all our experience in Mauer Park started to shift our experience in Berlin, as the first few days showed us an unattractive city with lots of boring buildings.

Kruezberg street art in Berlin
Kruezberg street art in Berlin

I had an opportunity to play tennis for the first time in Berlin this morning and enjoyed my match with Ernest. As for sites, we have gone to Tempelhof Airfield, the old airport from the early 1900’s. This airport is HUGE and they have turned the whole thing into a park. Ilise and I went on a cool rainy day while the kids stayed at home and the place was pretty empty. We walked around the old terminal trying to see if there were any tours of the place. It turns out that there is a tour once a week in English but I believe we will pass on that tour. Yesterday was another highlight of our week as we did the Alternative Walking Tour of Berlin. This is the tour that takes you to all the major graffiti sites in Kruezberg. I had the leave the tour a few minutes early to make it to my meeting with a fellow Rotarian, but the tour was very cool. Our tour guide, Devorah, was Israeli and she loved what she did. She made sure that everyone had a great time and even made everyone have fun in a playground. Really interesting seeing adults when given the opportunity to be kids again.

Family in front of the Reichstag Building in Berlin
Family in front of the Reichstag Building in Berlin

We ended our day yesterday at the Reichstag Building, which is the parliament building in Berlin. This building, as was most of the city, was destroyed at the end of WWII and we renovated in the 1990’s with a brand new glass dome. They allow visitors into the dome for free and provide an audio guide tour of the skyline as well. We had to reserve the tickets online, but it was a really enjoyable experience. We took lots of pictures and then headed to a small Cambodian restaurant near our apartment to grab some dinner. All in all, yesterday was an excellent day for everyone and we are looking forward to our last few days in Berlin!

To a life well lived ….

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