I’ve somehow forgotten to mention – we’ve landed in Berlin according to plan. My last blog post was written a while ago and was not posted then, due to a fussy and perfectionist author who somehow feels it is necessary to have pictures within a blog post. But since then, the last day of school has come and gone. The last weekend spent with my best friends also passed me by. And before we knew it, I was on a plane looking down at the Chicago skyline I know so well. I watched it grow smaller and smaller and marveled at how fast time flies. Time is a funny concept – it seems to be created by thought itself. Depending on our thought it speeds up, slows to a crawl, and passes us by in a universal measurement. I know the day I fly into Chicago to visit my friends will come eventually and when it does, I will once again marvel at how an entire year passed me by so quickly. But for the time being, all of us are stuck in the here and now of today.
Since that fateful day of June third, in which we actually did board that plane, and, unlike last time, did not decide on staying another year in Chicago, we have thoroughly explored our little spot in Berlin. We arrived on June fourth after a quick 30 minute layover in Stockholm, Sweden completely exhausted and collapsed at the active time of around 1 pm. After a recharging of energy, we dragged ourselves out of bed and set to exploring the city.
Within a couple of minutes we hit our first playground. We’ve been hitting them ever since… They are elaborate, frequent, and potentially dangerous, but with German health care and a relaxed attitude, there are tons of children playing on them. Since discovering our first adventure playground decked out with wooden forts and painted crests, we’ve traversed many more awesome ones. Most contain some sort of zip line, to which my sisters always eagerly sprint towards. The chorus then begins (in a German-English mixture)… “can we? can we? like nowwww? this is definitely the best one so far!” (when, in fact, it is the third one so far, and there is another around the corner). I think we’ve established that if we stopped at every playground for 10 minutes, we would get approximately nowhere; it’s amazing how they are everywhere – I haven’t seen this many playgrounds in my entire life. Thankfully though, we can divert my sisters with ice cream in order to actually get somewhere.
Die Eis-Diehlen (ice cream counters), like the playgrounds, are also quite frequent and provide us with a pick-me-up during our excursions. The going rate is about a Euro per scoop, with occasional variations due to location inflation. These little ice cream counters are usually wedged between other stores selling a variety of random stuff and could almost be overlooked were it not for a huge plastic ice cream cone outside, which already signals the arrival of salvation for my sisters. We’ve discovered our favorite place 3 days in – they make tiny scoops, but every lick of their creamy concoction is packed with a variety of exotic flavors, making the flavor decision the hardest one of the entire day.
Schöneberg, the area we’ve explored, has proven to be very city-like, and yet quiet enough, with many plazas, fountains, and beautiful Altbau-wohnungen, which are large apartment buildings that were built around the turn of the century. We’ve even bought a map of Berlin and plan to stick little flags into the neighborhoods we’ve conquered. This morning we are on to other parts of the city, and continue inching our way towards a map covered in flags…