East meets West

February5

Our next stop was in Berlin to visit our friends that were our neighbours at the hospital in Huaihua. We started with a bus tour of the city, which covered all the pertinent landmarks. We passed by Checkpoint Charlie, the famous border crossing from the American territory to East Berlin. It also was the point where there was a standoff between Russia and the US, tank to tank, during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
Checkpoint Charlie
We saw what is left of the Berlin Wall, and the ‘death strip’ which was adjacent, for those unlucky enough to try to flee. Beside that is an aptly named museum about the Gestapo, the Topography of Terror.
The Wall
Our next big sight was the Brandenburg Gate, built in 1791, and important entry to the city. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace.
Brandenburg Gate
We were lucky to have a visitor, all the way from Finland, who came with us on the tours and relived his childhood in Berlin. Thanks for the visit Ian! Here he is with the girls and their beautiful new dresses from Martina.
Ian and the girls
Emily lost her second tooth one morning at breakfast. The tooth fairy found her again. She now has some Thai baht and some Euros, we’ll have to hit a currency exchange at the end of this trip for her piggybank.
Lost Tooth
A big highlight for the girls was going to the forest near Martina and Lutz’s house to see the wild boar. Some are truly wild, but a little harder to find, and some are in an enclosure. They are eager to eat whatever is proferred, so spaghetti was the food du jour. There were also some bighorn-type sheep to feed too.
Wild boar
Feeding the boars
Feeding the sheep
Another kid-friendly activity was visiting ‘Legoland’, a whole building full of giant things built with lego. The big giraffe out front had over 350,000 pieces, someone must have had a LOT of patience to build these things. I like this shot of Maddie looking fierce.
Grrrrr!
Our final night we went out for ‘German Tapas’. We had a chance to try 9 or 10 different Berlin-style dishes. It was very delicious.
German Tapas
The girls made fast friends with the people at the neighbouring table, since they had their husky with them. Dogs are allowed almost everywhere it seems. What happens if you are in the shopping mall with your dog and he/she wants to lift their leg? So many questions…

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