Friday, November 1, 2013

Home is where the heart is

I really enjoy the Map My Run app. I like knowing how far I've gone and having a visual testament to my exercise. 

However, it's not entirely trustworthy -- like when it says I ran a 5-minute mile, when I was in fact walking rather leisurely. 

To be fair, this morning I wasn't walking leisurely; I was dead lost in Berlin and it was cold. I wanted to go to the Brandenburg Gate, which is a well-known monument and there are signs for it everywhere. The problem is, Heidi's hostel is not a well-known monument and there are no signs for it. I got most of the way back, then realized that while I had a general idea of where I was, I was still quite lost. I finally turned my compass on and started going north, then orienting myself around the very visible TV tower. By the time I made it back, I'd allegedly gone seven miles. 

I also realized I'm staying a block away from the hotel I stayed in last year. 

Since I'm down to my last few days I'm less worried about money, so I went to a bakery for breakfast, got bratwurst for lunch and seriously debated getting some chocolates that would cost about $5 each. That I did not do. But I did get cake. Some of you may remember the raving about the KaDeWe cake I did last year. It was like manna. It's a hard cake to live up to, but today's KaDeWe cake did it. I agonized for five minutes over which one to get. It's probably good I'm not here for another day; I might go back and get the other one I was considering.

Berlin, weirdly, is far busier now than it was in September of last year. I realized this while crawling over people at the DDR museum, where I totally hogged one of the interactive exhibits to first take this quiz about potential situations I'd face as a young Communist and then take a picture of my results: 

I stood in line to get a reservation to the Reichstag, until I heard the wait was two hours. I wanted to see the city at night, but there are less time-consuming ways to do that. I ended up at the same TV tower that guided me back to warmth this morning. 

Near the KaDeWe is a church that was bombed during the war; its parishioners opted to leave the bombed-out look as a memorial. Last year it was completely covered with siding for protective work. 

This year I at least got the top. 

I went on a spooky history tour -- I only screamed once, and I was found guilty of killing Berlin's fashion. The evidence was hard to argue with. And I went to a Berlin Wall memorial. It's hard to imagine what that life must have been like. 

Tomorrow I'm back to Ireland. In good news, I discovered my flight back to the U.S. is not at 9 as I'd feared; it's at 11:30. That will make Monday morning a little less icky. 

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