Sunday, March 22, 2009

Berlin: Saturday started at Starbucks.

Saturday morning we met Meera, an old college friend of Casey and Brittney's, at Starbucks just inside the Brandenburg Gate. Meera was in town for just a few days to make a presentation at a conference. She's just finishing up medical school and starting her residency in the fall. We're glad she planned an extra day into her trip to come and hang out with us!

After introducing Meera to Ellie and Peyton (it'd been a long time since Meera had seen Casey and Britt), we got drinks and breakfast and enjoyed talking and laughing at Ellie. Seriously she was a riot that morning!

We took some obligatory Brandenburg Gate pictures, before walking Britt, Ellie, and Peyton back to the car to head home for naps.

Meera, Katie, and I continued on with our sightseeing tour. We walked through a tip of the Tiergarten, over to the Reichstag, the German Parliament Building. It's a very popular tourist site, so we got in line and geared up for a long wait.

The 360 degree view of Berlin at the top of the Reichstag was certainly worth the nearly two hour wait. Okay, so maybe it was only an hour... I can't recall since we were engaged in fulfilling, intense conversation with Meera. (Meera, by the way, is fabulous! She's a great person, whom I'm now happy to count as a friend.)

After the Reichstag, we walked over to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Berlin Holocaust Memorial.

We'd been there with Casey, but the underground museum was closed. So this time, we took the opportunity to walk around. Seriously, once again, you'd think we would have had enough hearing of all the horror stories regarding the holocaust, but one room in the museum was particularly interesting to me. As my heartstrings were pulled, and tears surfaced easily, I read heart-wrenching letters between family members that were somehow recovered and preserved. Letters documenting the horror and bringing to life the pains and emotional suffering that they endured. It was nearly too much for me to bear. I strolled through the remaining rooms, only glancing at pictures, hardly reading anything more. Too painful.

We were hungry and decided to introduce Meera to the wonderful world of döner kebabs.

Needless to say, she's a fan! Who wouldn't be. Seriously. Come on now. They're delish!

We headed home, and once again found a very excited Ellie, ready to play! She decided to eat her dinner with tongs.

Katie and I walked the Ku'Damm one final time to Karstadt to do some grocery shopping for dinner the next day and pick up a few last "souvenirs" -- you know, the edible kind. I was extremely excited to find Texicana (a German salsa I learned to love while living in Lithuania) and Finn Crisps (a product of Finland, these crackers became a favorite while in Lithuania). -- More on these delicious finds in a future post.

We ended the night just talking away. Meera, Britt, Katie, and I. Girl talk. That's always fun!

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