Monday, June 15, 2015


My first Sunday in Berlin, I had planned to visit a town I see on the train. There's a stop, I knew that, and I had seen the streets and buildings, and it seemed like a good place to go check out. I had a camera, a backpacks and shoes that make walking possible.

Sunday in Berlin (and even more so, the suburbs of Berlin) is quiet, understandably. I got on the train, and one other person was in my car. Next stop: a guy gets on and sits next to me, his body odor somewhat restricting my breathing talents. It was 10:30am but he wasn't about to let Germany's reputation with Frühstückbier go to waste. 

After a minute or two, he says something to me. I have no idea what he said, and despite my normal head nod with a convincing "ja", I instead said "nein" and went back to looking out the window. A few minutes pass and he asks me something else, and this time I can only get out of it "on the street?" I figured any question that ends with that will probably be one I want to say no to. 

Then, the most important part of that train ride: I understood him and could actually answer accurately. He asked/invited/offered that I go out with him for a bier, and I gave the respectful answer of "nein, danke." The "thank you" probably gave me away as a non-German. A real German wouldn't have given him the time of day, much less wasted their breath on answering him.

I spent the rest of the morning exploring the town at the station that came up right after my invitation. Thankfully, Zehlendorf was a cute place and I'm glad I only made it halfway to my destination.

As I got up and walked out of the train, my new train friend said bye and wished me a nice day. I felt so lucky. 

And Zehlendorf on a Sunday morning...

This church was letting out as I walked by. You'd never know it, the bells only rang for 20 minutes.

This building is right across from that old, traditional church. This is why I love Berlin: the mix of the old and the new.

You'd think people would've seen someone take a picture of a building before, but you'd never know it if you saw the look people gave me. 

Little boy, as I walked by his family, regarding this tree, : "It doesn't have a top!" I figured that was a good enough reason to take a picture of the tree. (The fact that I understood the kid, I didn't take the picture because of the topless tree.)

Unfortunately I didn't eat at either of these fine-looking American eatery establishments. Next trip.

And then I ran into this bike race. It seemed pretty established when I got there, but I found out later that it would be probably 45 minutes until the bikes actually came. These nice women in neon vests were not messing around with the pedestrians crossing the street (race course). She stopped people and made them wait to cross the street, despite the race being 10 minutes away. Also it's Germany, so it's not like the street was 6 lanes. It was like 10 feet she needed to cross.

Police number one, out of way too many.

Completely silcence leading up to the bikes coming, then the crowd went crazy for a minute. Within 30 seconds of all the racers leaving, the cars and police going through and the entertainment over, the volunteers were already cleaning up. Nothing says efficiency like Germany.

Moral of the story? When a homeless man invites you out for a drink, go explore somewhere. It's culturally-enlightening and you might see a building like this.

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