Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Berlin: Tuesday Touring.

So for those of you who don't know what I'm doing in Berlin, Katie and I are visiting her sister and brother-in-law Brittney and Casey and their two little girls Ellie and Peyton. They have been living in Berlin for the last six and a half months for Casey's job with Alba Berlin, Berlin's basketball team. Britt and Casey live right off the Ku'damm and less than a block away from The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which we can easily see from their windows.  The remains of the original church, which was built in the 1890s and the new rebuilt edifice erected in the early 1960s stand side by side. The original church was badly damaged in a 1943 bomb raid, but the damaged spire of the old church has been retained and has been turned into into a memorial hall.

The new church is a strange looking building with walls of blue stained glass. My cousin Lindsay, who lived in Berlin, serving a mission for the LDS Church for a year and a half, calls it "the Neon Church" because when you walk inside, everything sort of has this neon blue shadow.
After touring both the new and the old churches, Katie and I grabbed a currywurst. They sprinkle curry on the top of a sliced hot dog. Pretty good treat. You can see currywurst stands everywhere in Berlin.
That afternoon, we went to the Berlin Zoo with Britt and Ellie. I haven't been to a zoo in quite awhile, and going with an excited two year old was a lot of fun! We watched the elephants during their daily grooming session. And we called Ellie an "elliephant", which she thought was quite funny.
Ellie was especially looking forward to seeing the giraffes and the monkeys. The giraffes were one of my favorite animals there. I'm not sure why, but I loved the giraffes. They look so graceful with their long necks.

I also especially enjoyed the hippos quite a bit. It took a couple of minutes to convince Ellie that this hippo was only pretend.
Then we saw the real hippos.
We saved the monkeys for last since they were close to the exit we were going to use. Unfortunately, we were too late to go into the monkey enclosure. Apparently it closes to visitors fifteen minutes before the zoo closes. Ellie was very upset. Luckily, we found a couple of outdoor monkey cages and a couple of the monkeys walked right up close to the edge so we could see.
As usual, I've spent my fair share of time mesmerized by the clouds. Berlin has given us uncharacteristically sunny weather for the majority of our trip. Seeing the blue sky and the sun caused Ellie to say, "Mommy, it's so bright outside. The sun is shining," with a surprised expression, as if it were some novelty. Clearly, it's been pretty gray during their time here. Despite the chilly wind, we feel lucky to have had so many consecutive days of the sun shining.
Tuesday evening, we stayed home with Britt and the girls, while Casey was at practice. Katie and I picked up dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe and brought it home. A nice night at home after a day out and about is really my kind of vacation. Plus, look at that cute baby face! Who wouldn't want to have a night in with that cutie! :)
Rock on!
"I can't hear you and it's a tiger!" (With Def Leopard's guitar and placard in the background.)

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