Berlin, Germany
Posted in Travel
First watch, 7 bells (11:38 pm)

Today we were in Berlin, Germany. Our ship docked in Warnemunde, which is about a 2.5 hour bus ride from Berlin. On our way to Berlin, the bus stopped at a McDonalds in a rest stop, where everyone got out to pay to use the bathroom, only to return to the bus and find that there is a free, albeit small, bathroom on the bus.

The road to Berlin was scenic, with lots of new windmills like we saw in Copenhagen, and one really old-fashioned windmill as well. There were lots of forests, and cars passed us going double our speed or more with regularity.

We arrived in East Berlin and picked up our guide. Our bus driver didn't speak any English, which is, nowadays, fairly odd for German people. Our guide was very knowledgeable and smart, but not the most terribly interesting person. You could tell he has a lot of architectural knowledge because of his

extensive descriptions of buildings and architects. We mostly drove around Berlin in the bus, because there were a lot of tourists at the main attractions, and also because it was raining.

Let me just say this one thing about Berlin—it's huge. There was so much we saw that I can't even remember it all. The downside about being on the bus all day is that I didn't get as many pictures as I usually do. I took 38 pictures in Berlin, as opposed to over 200 in Copenhagen. Pictures just don't come out very well when they're taken through a rainy window, so I mostly didn't bother.

Overall, I would also have to say that this wasn't my favorite shore excursion. But then again, I didn't have a lot of expectations for Berlin, either. I did get to see all the most famous bits, from the TV tower to the Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, and the holocaust memorial. Now that I've been there, I can say that I've seen them, and have no need to return.

We stopped at around 2:30 for lunch at the Sony Center. When Sony bought the land for their technology center, it came with the requirement that they preserve the facade of an old hotel that was well-loved by some important past person whose name I can't remember. So to flex their techno-muscles, Sony had it lifted hydraulically and then shifted over so they had the room to build what they wanted. The Josty Cafe/Restaurant, where we had lunch, was a nice, reasonably priced place. The service was quick and the food was delicious. Since we were in a large group, our tour guide had arranged reservations ahead of time, but he was in the back of the group. Six or seven of us entered first, and were approached by a nice waitress that coughed up a lungful of German at us and we all stood there quiet and looked at her. Without missing a beat, she said "Hello!" and we all responded with a sigh of relief that she spoke English. It was really funny.

The bus also had a funny picture about how to use the bathroom. It was a bit more graphic than it needed to be. Basically, I think it says that if you're urban and down with wearing your hat backwards, then you shouldn't pee standing up. You should put your hat on normally, then sit on the toilet and pee.

This is how you should pee