All my 2009 Germany pictures can be seen at:

Berlin and it's now defunct Wall

This was a MUCH better day! Serena and I signed up for one of those "around the town" bus tours so we got a quick idea about how the city was laid out. We saw the Berlin wall, their parament building, their new trainstation, etc. You can't tell the difference between East and West Berlin now-a-days.

We ended the day at the Berlin Wall Museum. It mostly focused on people who escaped from East Berlin. It showed some of the events before the wall like the Soviet blockade, polical events between 1961 and 1989, and about Stallin's famine of 1933. There was a complete gap of information between 1958 and 1961 which led to the building of the wall as well as how people were integrated during reunification after the fall of the wall; these were the things I was most interested in. I guess I got to go online to read about these time periods...

For dinner, we got another recommendation of some restaurant on the edge of Alexanderplatz. This restaurant wasn't all that good AND the service wasn't either. In fact, the waitress got Serena's food order wrong (because I heard Serena say "no sour cream" and she asked the waitress, "is there milk" which the waitress replied "no,") and tried to put the blame on Serena for "not telling her." This is the third time Germans in the service business have tried to assign blame. I could understand if there was a language barrier but I don't think that is the case here. Also, you don't have to assign blame, just fix the problem!

Another BIG issue was back on Thursday at the Jewish cemetry. The posted prices on the window above the ticket counter said "200 Euros for adults," "150 Euros for children," and "children under 6 free." Okay, we have 4 adults, 1 child, and one under 6; that's 200 * 4 + 150 = 950 Euros, but the bill came to 1350 Euros! When we tried to figure out why the difference, it took a ridiculous amount of coaxing to get the woman at the ticket counter to tell us. Instead, she just said "This is EASY! Don't you know how to count! This is so simple! What's your problem?" I pointed out that 3 adults couldn't understand her math, which got more rants from her. Come to find out, there's this 5x7 handwritten card taped to the counter saying "300 Euros for adults," "150 Euros for children." So this is when I made the rude comment, "Oh, so you are scamming 100 Euros person off the top from people who want to attend this memorial." That comment didn't go over well with Ashley...

Back to Tuesday night. At dinner, I asked for "water without gas" and I got a shot glass with less than 2 ounces full. I drank my glass, Serena's glass, and had to ask for two more glasses throughout dinner. In Europe (or at least Germany,) just because a glass is empty doesn't seem to be a reason to fill it. Of course I cauld have easily drank 24 ounces that evening because we had been walking all over the city. I looked around at other tables and EVERYONE of them had at least a 24 ounce beer or a glass of wine. So I posed the question to Serena... What does an alcholoc do when in Europe? They only serve ridiculous large amounts of beer and server ridicously small amounts of water or coffee!

So that leads me to my next story that really doesn't affect me... but everytime Serena and Kenny ordered coffee or cappincino, they would ask for a large and get an 8 ounce cup with 2 ounces of liquid! What's up with this? In the States, Starbucks serves too much coffee (so I think) but here they serve too little! How does anyone get their thirst quenched? It was also funny listening to Kenny asking the person behind the counter to "fill up the cup" and the look on the person face... Of course, to fill a person's cup is a quadruple so 8 ounces of coffee was about $15 USD!

After dinner, we took off toward Frankfurt to catch our plane which leaves at 10:55 in the morning. Serena started driving and I tried to sleep in the back seat. But all I could hear was the engine chugging along at maximum RPMs. Every once in a while, I'd look over her should to check the speed. The GPS would say 100 or 101 mph. Okay, so I did this too when on the open road. (Note: We were not the fastest people on the road. About every 30 minutes a car would pass doing +130 mph and blow the van around in the lane.) I tried to calm my fears and sleep. Again, I looked up as she was going down a mountain at 108! Earlier, she said:
Serena: How long does the GPS say it will take us?
Rob: 4 hours and 35 minutes.
Serena: Oh, I can beat that!
Rob: This is not a race with the GPS...