TAILS OF A TRAVELLING CAT
Day 6, Berlin
Greetings, humans! What a day, what a day! We started off with a relaxed morning and no plan of what to do or where to go, but took our host’s advice and visited Mauerpark for the Sunday flea market and other assorted festivities.
Once again, this was a walking trip, no buses today. We set off east across the city, crossing one gigantic tree blossom hay-fever-inducing shower and a quaint little park with many nice trees and wooded paths, we were grateful for the shade they provided. It was ridiculously hot today, reaching 30˚c according to the weather forecasts and believe me, we felt every degree, even for a cat that is getting toasty!
We left the small park and carried on along the road to Mauerpark. This was clearly a very popular place to be on a sunny Sunday. We walked through the open grass of the park to visit the (surprisingly massive) flea market. It went on and on, so far in fact that we decided on a break part way for lunch. During this time we overlooked a juggling-type show which was interesting and involved fire – that was my favourite part.
My personal humans then had to leave the park temporarily to get some so-called ‘cash’ out (this isn’t a concept I really understand) but on the way back visited a little shop called California Popsicles where Charlie and Jack bought ice lollies as we British call them. The humans tucked into a mixed berry lolly and a mango lolly containing a frozen strawberry coated in melted dark chocolate. Very refreshing, I’m sure.
Back to the flea market, looking for souvenirs and surprise! We found Korean steamed dumplings so gave them a go – fantastic apparently. My humans had never had steamed dumplings before, Korean or otherwise so that was a novel experience for them. My useless humans didn’t get the name of the stall, but it was in the flea market, and they gave out free samples… of something, my humans don’t remember that either.
Shopping over, we sat on the grass to relax and listen to some of the live music going on. Now this is what I’m talking about! A proper holiday with no water where one can really stretch out and relax. The only complaint – I fear I may never get the smell of weed out of my fur. Can people and cats get high off second hand weed smoke? I probably have anyway.
Next up, dinner time, out of the burning sun. We went to Vegó World Food where we were confronted with a mouth-watering choice of 15 tempting vegan burgers. In the end the humans chose a cauliflower-vegan cheese burger with a very German name and a ‘chicken’ schnitzel cheese burger, both with generous helping of salad and crispy chips, cheap as well, all this for only 9€ each. I particularly liked this restaurant – there were stickers everywhere, mostly anti-capitalist, feminist, anti-fascist and vegan, but there were a fair few cat stickers around too which I was a particular fan of.
We then moved on to Lia’s Kitchen for the second course: the world’s thickest chocolate ice cream, caramel and pecan milkshake. Absolutely fabulous my humans inform me.
Food consumed and my humans basically waddling with the shear amount they had taken on, we headed back to the room.
On the way back though we got distracted when we found some remains of the Berlin Wall on Bernauerstraẞe (straẞe is German for road and pronounced straa-suh). The Wall here is basically now just a lot of the poles they use in reinforced concrete in a long line. If we’d realised mauer was German for wall, we’d probably have discovered we were near the wall while we were relaxing in the park. The wall was originally constructed in 1961 and not brought down until 1989, and much occurred in those 28 years it existed for.
The wall was not just a wall, part of it was a façade of the houses to the East side of the wall and a separate blockade. These houses in the wall allowed people to flee into the West, often aided by Western forces who held fire-fighters' nets under windows to allow for safe escapes. However, these windows were quickly blocked up by the Russian controlled East and soon the houses themselves were torn down, today all that remains are some bricks from the lower floor, providing an outline of the buildings. We stood in these ruins and could feel the atmosphere of the place. We read stories of people’s escapes, friends and families separated by the wall. Visiting it at sunset, I’m sure, added to the eeriness of the place. The wall was heavily fortified, alarms, dogs, anti-vehicle defences, barbed wire and spikes. Despite this, there were still successful escapes, even once the houses had been torn down.
The remains of the wall were a powerful reminder that for the people of Germany, the effects of World War II lasted so much longer than 1945.
Wow! I got quite philosophical there! Well, that was that, after the Wall, we walked back to the room and that pretty much sums up the day.
We’re onto Vienna on our first night train tomorrow, but that gives us another full day to spend in Berlin, this time hitting the south of the city.
Until next time, Chesh.
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