My last full day in Germany was Friday, August 20. I zipped out for one last 3-mile run, stopped at the apartment to grab my bike, biked it up 0.5 miles to IPP, locked it in the bike rack, and ran 0.5 miles home. Bike=returned. After a shower and breakfast, I said goodbye to my cute little abode and dragged my gigantic suitcase back over 0.5 miles to IPP, where I turned in my keys and waited at the guard booth for my taxi. While I was waiting, Steffi ran out with a present from the group--mints and an IPP lanyard (which now holds my PPL badge). :)
Auf Wiedersehen, IPP!
Taxi man and I spoke pleasant German to each other and he left me at the train station. I took the three-hour train to Berlin, which was quiet and pleasant and uneventful. I would like to say a huge "DANKE SCHÖN" to all the random German men who helped me lift my embarrassingly huge suitcase. Note to self: get hiking backpack and don't buy so many books. At the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, I had a latte, lunch, and free wireless. Then, I jumped on the S-Bahn, transferred to the U-Bahn, and walked another mile or so to my hotel. MY JOURNEY WAS OVER! Wait, no? No. I arrived at my room, anticipating with delirious glee a shower and a nap, only to find that it hadn't been cleaned. Instead of just moving me to a new one, they showed me to the bar and set housekeeping on it. Half an hour and one beer later, they let me in. I passed out for a blissful hour on my cushy bed. Relief.
Not one to waste an evening in a fabulous city, I freshened up and headed back to the U-Bahn!
I loved the decor of my station:
I got off at Wilmersdorfer Straße and walked down Kantstraße. I liked the garden in Savignyplatz:
Even though it seemed to be the place to be if you are fifty years old and want to drink a bottle of wine and smoke with your friends. Hmm.
I cut down to Kurfürstendamm, a famous street of high-end shops, and actually found a 60 euro sweater for eight euros. SCORE.
This led me to the Kaiser Wilhem-Gedächtnis-Kirche, an eerily beautiful cathedral which was partially destroyed in WWII and left as a reminder of the horrors of war. Two buildings were built next to it: a tower with a bell (and souvenir shop inside) and a short, round building, where the church services are now held.
"The former entrance hall of the old Kaiser-Wilhem-Gedächtnis-Kirche was reopened on January 7, 1987 as a memorial.
This is a place to warn against war and destruction and a call to reconciliation in Jesus Christ."
Near the somber site, I bought a German national soccer team jersey! WOOHOO! It was also eight euros. Yessss.
Walking back, I passed a sports shop with this beauuuutiful display:
Who DOESN'T love Bastian Schweinsteiger? Eeeh??
(I received several strange glances while taking the above photograph. I am quite used to this.)
Back on Kantstraße, I found a Thai restaurant and read my German novel while eating more amazing tofu curry. I was quite tired, and U-Bahned back to the hotel.
Just outside Rohrdamm station is a huge WWI memorial:
I watched a bit of a show which appears to be Germany's Got Talent or German Idol or Some Germans Can Sing and Some Really Can't, then I fell asleep.
After paying way too much (of thankfully not my own) money for an okay continental breakfast, I took the free shuttle to Berlin Tegel Flughafen, spent my last moments on German soil, and then flew home!
Hopefully, I will return soon. :)