Today in Berlin we rode a tram, a double-decker bus, and a subway train. And we saw a very tall tower. Malli was in heaven.
Those are people up there, installing some sort of advertising or public message wrapping around the tower.
Akka took some photos and taught us a few words of Launksh, her language. It sounds remarkably like German but it’s not German. When asked, she confirms that she’s the only one who speaks it but that we, her parents, are learning it. Which is true.
We took in some 1960s GDR architecture around Alexanderplatz, and then rode west to Potsdamer Platz to see the flashy new developments on this site that was, for 28 years, a well-guarded wasteland between East and West Berlin. There’s a lot of hype about Potsdamer Platz in planning circles because the site has tremendous historical significance and also because it represents one of the only large-scale opportunities for ‘clean-slate’ site planning in a European city. It’s pretty, and shiny, and the kids liked the fountains, but it left us feeling rather cold. I’d like to return at night when it’s all lit up but in the middle of a weekday, if you don’t care to spend €6.50 for fries at the Australian-themed restaurant inside canopied the Sony Centre, you’d best just move on.
So we did. To contemplate remnants of the Berlin wall:
Then back to Prenzlauer Berg to what is fast becoming our favourite park. I love that it’s small, fairly chaotic, and has lots of unsafe equipment. We regularly need to retrieve the kids from the middle of ladders they can’t climb or slides that are too high or too fast. It’s such a refreshing change from some of the sanitized super-safe plastic parks in Toronto. Here it’s all no-helmet biking, smoking next to kids, watch out for the glass and unleashed dogs and have fun. If you get beaned by the swing because you weren’t looking when you ran out after the bubbles, you’ll know better next time.