10/22/12 - 10/24/12 55 °F
Germany has us in its grasp. We are in Berlin after a smooth train ride, which also involved a short stint on a ferry, from Denmark. The train fit onto deck three, next to cars and trucks. Upstairs, a mini cruise ship with eateries, a massive duty free shop and outdoor decks. Very nice outside. The only downside to the ferry, which took us from Danish to German soil, was that it was only 45 minutes. We left Dragor under red early morning skies.
Truth is, we fled Denmark! Turns out the ticketing was using from Dragor to Copenhagen train station was "one clip short" (only three clips instead of four, a system that works for the Danes and their public transport zones). Not interested in honest mistakes, the regional train attendant called me to the proverbial carpet at 8am on a Sunday morning, ripping my three clip ticket twice between his eyes and my own. In front of the children no less!
I was fairly mortified but admittedly not shocked (I knew I was one clip short but had just overpaid by one clip on my bus earlier that morning and was hoping for some good vibes from that). And, honestly, I was banking on no attendant since I had not seen one my entire week in Denmark. No fooling this system!
The guy was nasty. Whether I knew I was one clip short or not, I was in the wrong but he was nasty about it!after ripping up my ticket, he told home the fine was 100 euros. I asked if I could just pay the one clip! Nope, he does not allow that, he only gives fines. But, this time I would be sparred! He walked on. The woman standing next to me said, "he is walking in shoes that are too big for him," which I thought was interesting. She also said that if he had imposed the fine she would have raised a ruckus and others would have joined her. Solidarity, sister! Then, the man next to me gave the attendant a clip on my behalf. Solidarity, brother! I apologize to Denmark for trying to mush my extra bus clip into my regional train clip!
Coco and Henry spent the rest of the day worried if we had the right tickets for our two big trains and for the ferry. Bad Mommy!
We arrived at the Berlin hotel excited. Kids excited for a pool. All excited for our next stop. The hotel, the Radisson Blu, is well-located and stylish. Thank you to Lamont for the hotel recommendation! The pool is nice. And, there is a tub in our room! We have not had a tub since home and we all took long baths last night. We had the seemingly endless breakfast buffet this morning and then went on a 5 plus hour bike tour, the "all city tour." Seemed appropriate since we leave tomorrow and we wanted to see as much of the sights as possible. I feel like we saw the "sights" but little of a Berliner's Berlin. I was awestruck by the Berlin wall. I just had never imagined myself at the wall and therein was, with all of its oppressions and fear-mongering.
Besides the sites, being on the bikes was great and we all enjoyed it. A bit more than 6 miles at the slowest pace! With lots of stops. About 30 minutes of the tour was spent going through a huge, autumn-beautified park, to and from a beer garden for lunch. I had volunteered to be the caboose (rather, the "butt babe,"as the tour guide called it) and my role was to be last and make sure there were no stragglers. My reward was a tiny piece of the Berlin wall, which it turns out you can buy most anywhere. Henry commented that I won my piece of wall. No, I said, I earned it!
I am poolside now as I type. Imagine we will have a late dinner within three blocks of the hotel and watch German-language Disney channel a bit. The language doesn't matter. My kids have seen those shows so many times they could do the dubbing themselves.
We have one large bed, which we are all sharing. At least I thought it was one large bed. It's actually two small beds pushed together. Last night, Coco and I shared a bed. Tonight, which even before nightfall I will call the "night of a crappy sleep," I share a bed with Henry. That kid moves around ALL night. He'll even pull your hair! He yanks blankets and steals pillows. He pushes. He crosses his legs over your body. He shifts to sleep sideways. Ah, Henry! Good thing he's also a good cuddler!
On Tuesday, we head to Prague. Short time in Berlin, but so glad to get a glimpse.