Sunday, July 31, 2011

East Side Gallery Redux

Joss and I tagged along when Rob took the students to the Frankfurter Tor, the Oberbaumbrucke and the East Side Gallery.
It looks so much better than it did when we came in 2006. The restored pieces look great.
I marvel what twenty years can do. This was in the death strip pre-1989 and now it's covered with tour busses and happy camera-toting types making superhero poses and even a hurdy gurdy man.
Joss, as ever, wanted to leave his mark.
A handprint that says "Joss was here"
Rob pointed out that the East Side Gallery was conceived to protest the very wall it's painted on.
And that by painting on it, they ended up preserving the very thing they were protesting.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wannsee Boat Ride

After church we made our way down to one of Rob's favorite lakes.
We took a picnic and caught a boat through beautiful country.
It was naptime.
It wasn't really a popular trip with some of the kids. They missed out on some great sights. Gorgeous lake houses from Wannsee figure in Goodbye Lenin and The Edukators.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gardens of the World on the Backside of the Moon

I had seen pictures of the Gardens of the World on advertisements by the BVG (the transportation department in Berlin). Once we came out here on Saturday I realized that is because you have to take a lot of transportation in order to get there! S-bahn lines were down, so we took the S-bahn to the U-bahn to the back of beyond where we caught a bus to JVD (which means 'way, way out there').
First, we made our way through the irrgarten.
It was not so easy! I was completely turned around by the time I found the middle, and that's only half done.
Next we went to the Chinese garden.
I was hungry and there was a pagoda, so we sat and ate our lunch there.
People eventually began to act like themselves again.
The chinese garden was really beautiful. All designed by landscape designers from Bejing,
which is a sister city of Berlin
complete with lake and tea house. They even imported Chinese rocks.
Then off to the Italian garden with a renaissance theme.
Joss never did fall asleep, which means I suppose that he's no longer sleep deprived enough to nap in the stroller.
The Italian garden was more familiar, but also very well done.
Then we went to the Moroccan garden, which I think was our favorite.
Still life with bougainvillea
It reminded me of the gardens of San Sebastian in the Alhambra in Granada where I have always wanted to take Rob.
Rob insisted that this is what he wants the backyard to look like.
With high walls and water, he meant.
A fabulous drinking fountain.
This was a "Christian" garden, which is an interesting concept, but I didn't have the German to puzzle it out. Some of it is biblical and something is from Goethe.
The Japanese garden was stunning, and just what I needed after chasing Joss around the playground.
Rocks, grass and water.
Korean. I thought that it would be lush and tropical. I wasn't prepared for their carefully planned bare spaces.
Then there were lush parts too.
And the Balinese garden was so tropical that all of my pictures inside are fogged up! But my kids had a good time with these jolly guys.
On the way home, we managed to get a train all the way across Germany that dropped us off at our very own S-bahn station. Phew!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Potsdamer Lego Shopping Potterful Day

Friday was Maddie's birthday. We were totting up the number of times she's celebrated abroad, with only her family and oddments and randomness to celebrate, and this is birthday #5.
We gave her a couple of options for activities, and she chose to send the boys to the Lego Discovery Center on Potsdamer Platz.
In the final analysis, that meant that Rob took one for the team. The place was overcrowded on a rainy day with too many kids and not enough supervising adults. He had to climb into the play area more than once to stop 11- and 12-year-olds who were using the little kids for target practice in the ball zone. He says that had Dante been there, the Lego Discovery Center would have its own circle in The Inferno.
But they all liked the Lego Berlin. Here is the Berliner Dom which we visited with Curtis and Tomas.
The Reichstag (the teeny tiny "For The German People" is pretty amazing).
The Quadriga on top of the Brandenburg Gate.
And the Berlin Wall. You can push a button and this section of the wall falls down.
Complete with David Hasselhoff singing "Freedom!" Did you know Germans love David Hasselhoff? They do.
Visiting Indiana Jones.
And a lion. While the boys were thus occupied, Maddie and I had had a lovely time shopping up and down Wilmersdorferstrasse. We were looking for a church outfit and pajamas for her and we spent a long time but found exactly what we were looking for. We had lunch in a Nordsee because it was Maddie's birthday. It was a nice calm way to spend a cold rainy day.
By the time Maddie and I arrived to switch out kids, Joss was at the end of his rope. Pulling out the camera at this point never fails to make me laugh out loud at the absurdity of it all.
Joss was able to rally for a little bit of hero worship at the Herbie exhibit.
We're not above making obvious school-age German jokes.
I took the littler ones home while Rob took these two to see HP 7 pt 2 here at the English theater.
And we finished up with cake, candles and ice cream for the birthday girl.
Here she is in her new togs. Not a bad day!