My adventure began on an AIRPORT EXPRESS bus to SFO. From Sonoma County I was surprise how smooth and easy the whole experience was. Lost in my novel, I looked up and I was crossing the GG bridge. Once at SFO United informed me that my flight was never purchased and to go to Lufthansa and inquire there. I won’t bore you with the details but if you are ever stuck go to the information desk. There you will get a list of hotels to call and they all have AAA discount. Still in good spirits I had a meal some wine and got to bed early with a good book.. TSA pre approved.. super,,,,not sure how that happened ?? Yippee smooth sailing. Until I heard. Paging Rebecca Reedy to Luftansa. Please report to the ticket counter. With my mind racing i rushed to the counter. I was asked “Are you Rebecca Reedy?” Me, “Yes”, Are you traveling alone? “Yes”. We need your seat, so we are bumping you up to Econo Plus. SWEET! I arrived in Berlin greeted by my nephew Colin the groom to be. We took the bus to the Uban (the subway) to my hotel. After checking in we walked a five minute walk past a punk squat to my sisters apartment. I do have a video of artists spray painting the side of the Squat. My nephew warned me not to take pictures of it. German squatters and punks don't like that. Berlin is on big construction zone. Cranes are everywhere. Thanks to my client Roz Posin, I was armed with my Rick Steves Guide. It was a relatively easy city to navigate.The street art was fabulous. What I found very eerie was the fact that there were VERY few crowds, very little traffic and practically no lines for anything touristy. Its August, in Europe, I was told by a few locals that people are just beginning to move back after the wall, and much of the population have just been killed. The population is increasing though and I was surprised at the amount of Turkish Muslims. More surprises came with all the kids parks full of kids playing and families picnicking during the week. Darling wooden structures for children to use their imagination. Sculpture and art in the parks everywhere. The mascot of Berlin is a bear. And you will see this bear bearing messages of love, unity and equality. Berlin is the second biggest LBGTQ friendly city after Sydney and before San Francisco at third. I learned that fun fact on my bike tour, more on that later. Emotional and powerful, The Monument to the Murdered Jews was by far left the biggest impression on me. The artist Peter Eisenman from New Jersey created this around 2003. His brilliance not only lies in his creation but in his refusal to explain the art, allowing each spectator their own experience. The Topography of Terror was just that, a grim time line of HItler the Nazi’s Party, t SS , SA and the Gestapo. Photographs and brutal footage of Germany’s dark past. I found it ironic that the city attracts tourists and receives revenue from such a hideous massacre. Berlin is trying to rebuild and own its dark past. Many of the historical Museums are free. in between the empty lots and dilapidated bullet holes building the architecture contrasts from New Uber Modern to Gothic, to Hitlers favorite Neo Classical. Neo Classical iwindows are designed to be smaller and the higher they go imposing on the people a feeling of been very small and dominated. Yes, was by design.
Fall winter fashion was bursting with color pumpkin,rust, rose, raspberry, cremes and honey and carmel. Lots of wide whale corduroy trousers. These are not your stiff 70’s academic professor corduroy but soft, light weight, almost like chenille. LUXURY. No I didn’t get any,,but I will when I find them in my budget. Street fashion and retail fashion showed lots of matching suits think Hillary power suits but on men in strong primary colors. Color pairing on the street and in the shops were tone on tone. or just a level off blue on blue, red on orange, brown on rust.
Now to the family and the wedding festivities. The bride and groom obviously gorgeous creatures, were so relaxed and happy. This was my first time to meet the bride Valentina’s family. Beautiful open, eccentric, artistic and generous, progressive people. What a treat to be included in the rehearsal dinner that really wasn’t a rehearsal, just getting to know each other. from the The restaurant was old world charm, everything perfectly aged patina. Huge ceilings, candelabra chandeliers, monster mirrors with hardly a reflection left, long tables that seat 20. Lots of meat on most menu’s which is always hard for me. But the champagne poured. To hear stories from the grandparents who lived thru the war, and the wall was fascinating. The wedding was at the the brides’s mothers,Elizabeths apartment which was large enough to have a sit down meal for 25 guests. My sister in law made an amazing toast and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The food was fabulous as was the darling cake by my sister Patricia! The entertainment was a Balkan Band, the guests danced until 2 am. The day after the wedding was a brunch at Aunt Marie’s. Her flat was a visual treat. Artistically decorated with a huge garden where we ate desert first (a reman thing) !!! I love it. The afternoon was full of lively conversation with a brand new extended family I was touched to be apart and witness it.
Street Art & Hair
Monday I took a fun bike tour with FAT TIRES BIKE TOURS. They are in many major cities and I highly recommend it. Our guide was a young, lively, knowledgeable Australian girl. Berlin is flat so a 4 hour ride was easy. We stopped looked and learned and ended up at a pretty beer garden. Thanks to my client Liz Hale for the suggestion. Tuesday took me to KADEWA, thank you Martha Irmer for this suggestion. Imagine Harrods in Berlin. The mothers of the groom ,(my sisters) and I had champagne, lunch and shopped. The sales were great, the food and merchandise stellar. The sun set with the U.S. family members all having supper at Zac Letzten Jnstanz, which brags to have fed Napoleon. Medieval cuisine, I'm talking pig knuckles and lard, heavy thick breads. I had the one and only vegetarian option. YECK. Awwwww Wednesday,,,The Liquiddrom https://liquidrom-berlin.de/de/index.php , This was just what the doctor ordered. I was steamed, soaked, plunged and massaged in a urban sanctuary . This was much needed as I basically tore Berlin up by foot. I hopped on the U-bahn to the newly weds to watch Game of Thrones. It was so fun to hang with the youth and be around their energy. Thursday, the Newlyweds and buddy Andy took me across town to their favorite vintage store. I found some cool scarves and Val found some bustiers which she rocks so well. We had a lovely Vietnamese lunch and said our farewell. I will miss them so very much. Berlin was good to me. I hope you enjoyed my blog!