On our last full day in Berlin, we decided to take it a bit slower as we were both beginning to feel the jet lag and all of the walking we’d done!
We started the day by taking a taxi to the 1936 Olympic Stadium, which has been reconstructed and is currently used as a soccer stadium. This is something I was really wanting to see while in Berlin because the 1936 Olympic Games fascinate me – the whole world was gathered in Germany to enjoy such a festive event, and Germany was already so far into the throes of the horrors of the Third Reich. These games are also where Jesse Owens won his medals and where the men’s crew team from the University of Washington took gold, when Hitler and his fellow Nazi leadership thought Germany had won. There is so much of interest during August 1936 to me!
The Olympic Stadium was actually more of a complex featuring the main stadium, parade grounds, swimming pools and other venues. These Olympic Games were also the start to much of the pageantry we currently associate with the Olympics, like the pomp of the opening ceremonies and the running of the Olympic flame from Athens to the site of the current games.
After we toured the Olympic Stadium, we took the U-bahn to KaDaWe for lunch where we enjoyed an “appetizer” of currywurst and then had a great lunch of Wiener schnitzel- mine traditional and William’s Rahm Schnitzel smothered in cheese. While at KaDaWe we also picked up some fun chocolates to try – a dark espresso, a mint and some chocolate covered marzipan in a fun Christmas tin. I thought about buying an advent calendar, since so much of Europe loves them, but they were too awkwardly shaped to bring back in our luggage. This is a Christmas tradition I wish was more popular in the States!
The Tiergarten was beautiful and I love that we stayed so close to it, so that we would many times walk it’s perimeter, but spending time strolling through the beautiful leaves and watching dogs run around, families on bike rides and people pushing prams around made me want to move to Berlin so I could enjoy the Tiergarten daily. We walked down to the Victory Column before turning to head back to our hotel to meet Jacob for dinner.
We had talked about grabbing currywurst from a street vendor for dinner, but this was the chilliest night, so we stopped at a diner across from the Sony Center. This was easily the worst meal we had the whole trip – that could be because I got a burger while the guys had currywurst, but I just wanted more flavor than what I got. It’s the one restaurant we stopped at or meal we had that I would not eat again – the rest of our food was incredible!
After dinner we walked back to our hotel by the Philharmonic hall and crashed as soon as we got to our room. We had walked over 11 miles again and had to leave the hotel at 3 to get Tegal. This was also the night that Europe was setting their clocks for daylight savings and we anted to make sure we didn’t miss our flight.
The next morning was a painless checkout before we hopped in the taxi to Tegal. The check in process at Tegal was a little unclear, but once we figured it out the process was pretty painless. Once again I was highly impressed with KLM, minus them separating William and I on the flight. Once we got to Amsterdam it was smooth sailing until we got on our 11 hour flight to Salt Lake City. The flight was good, I finished a book and was able to sleep quite a bit, but I also caught a nasty cold on the flight that caused me to take a sick day on Monday. When we landed in Salt Lake, customs was a breeze since we were the only international flight that had come in recently. We were supposed to have a 10 hour layover in Salt Lake, but could not bear the thought of staying in the airport for that long after an even longer flight, so we caught a shuttle back to Idaho, had a friend pick us up, grabbed our dog from boarding and all crashed into bed.
This was a wonderful, whirlwind trip that made me fall in love with a country and a city I never expected to. I look forward to the opportunity to travel to Germany again and have been reinvigorated in my desire to read more of their history.