I had a post about our first trip to Berlin earlier but I want to add a couple of details I didn’t include in the first post. The unexploded bomb that delayed the train was just the beginning. We got to see the era of capitalism that has exploded worldwide. We went to the famous Check Point Charlie where people would go back and forth between East and West Berlin. It was a location that has sadness and joy associated with it over the years. What we saw was a commercialized location. There were men in American and East German uniforms that you could pose with for a price. You could take pictures of it but it was hard not to get one of these people in the picture and then they wanted to be paid. It did give us a chance to stop at the Mcdonald’s that was across the street for a cup of coffee. You couldn’t go 5 feet without someone trying to sell some “Cold War” era souvenirs. I was disappointed because I love history and am not a fan of commercialization.
We did get a chance to experience more of Berlin. We used the Hop-on Hop-off bus as a way to tour the city. We could get off and walk around at our own pace and then just hop on a bus that came along later. This was great for a history buff like me. We spent a lot of time at the Brandenberg Gate and other historic locations. There was one sight that we had not put into our itinerary. We were riding on the top level of the double-decker bus. It gave a better view of the city. Berlin is a city of 3.5 million people and as a result, it is crowded. A lot of folks live downtown and other densely packed areas. One other factor we had not counted on was the more relaxed views on wearing clothes. That leads me to our unplanned sightseeing adventure. We are riding downtown and as we glance to our left we notice a man on his balcony brushing his teeth. On a closer look at this city tableau also found that he was wearing only his toothbrush. For the Americans, it was a bit of a shock. The good news was that this was a trip later than the exchange and only included my daughter and her friend. Additionally, the parents of this girl were friends and so we all had a good laugh about it and I didn’t get fired. This was a relief but would not be our only brush with nudity in exchanges over the years. For that story, you will have to wait until the next blog post.