Approximately 50 hours… Since landing in Berlin, that is approximately the number of hours we have spent walking. If, in the off chance, you would ever find yourself in this city, just know to bring good walking shoes. Or if you are, in the off chance, a sane person, you would know to set a reasonable goal for yourself. Not that we have been unreasonable; I would say we have merely been ambitious… After conquering Schöneberg by foot, we have extended our front line to the neighborhoods of Wilmersdorf, Schmargendorf, Charlottenburg, and Friedenau. Although they lie close to each other, each neighborhood has its own dynamic that is just not perceivable through Google street view. The differences are very slight, and although not a massive amount of people are outside, just by walking around we got a good understanding of the type of neighborhood we were in, and most importantly, whether it was the dynamic where we would feel at home. It is a large struggle of compromises; we want a safe neighborhood that is abundant with families, has an elementary school we feel is right for my sisters, is quiet, and provides us with that comfortable aura. Here, there are many neighborhoods that have their little plazas, second-hand shops, small grocers, and cafes (and of course ice cream shops as well) but some have compromises too large to make, and so we’ve slowly crossed out areas of our discovered territory. Of course, the school is the largest deciding factor. After finding one we liked, we narrowed down the apartment search, which began with full gusto.
On Monday completely exhausted, we collapsed after 11 hours of walking. Starting at 8 that morning we traveled back and forth with a variety of public transportation, first visiting a school and then viewing 3 different apartments. When these apartments find themselves in different parts of the city, racing from one to the other in order to be there on time isn’t easy, or relaxing. Then, they occasionally have to find themselves in the same area, which you’d think is easier, but in actuality just requires more walking. It felt like House Hunters International – each apartment had some pros and cons, and each were thoroughly covered, requiring more walking and standing and waiting. It was all quite taxing. Then, after 11 hours of walking and waiting for trains and buses and people to be finished talking, we arrived in our little abode. Flopping down onto the couch like a lump, I vowed there was no way I was going outside anymore… until my sisters jumped up and down saying they wanted to go play soccer with the soccer ball we had just bought at Karstadt Sports, whose visit by the way probably ate up an entire hour of aimlessly looking at sports equipment. Certain they had gone insane, my mother and I asked them repetitively whether they were quite sure, and as always, they were. Because they had been complaining about all of this walking, I can find no logical solution for this energy boost. But then again, I contemplated going running, so I think by that time we had all gone quite insane.
On the weekend, when schools were not open for viewing, we were tourists for the day, and introduced Emilia and Josephine to the Berlin Wall, busy shopping street of Kurfurstendamm, and the Brandenburger Tor. Having visited those places last year, for Audrey and I it was a review of the rich history Berlin has to offer, but for my sister Emilia a much anticipated visit. And for the rest of us, more walking.