Saturday, January 26, 2008

I love a new perspective!

Though she won't land in Frankfurt for another 15 hours, my sister has already begun the near-epic journey from Seattle to Heidelberg! She will be visiting for two weeks, and we plan to visit at least Dresden, Berlin, and Paris while she is here, while of course also spending some time here in Heidelberg. We have both been looking forward to it for months and I can't wait.

I really look forward to having her brand new perspective on life here, because I worry that although I still notice quite a bit, it's nothing like it was at first. Things are getting pretty normal here; it's not as new and exciting as it was. Now a normal toilet has almost no water in it. A strange toilet has lots of water. Normal milk comes in a box. Strange milk comes in a plastic bottle. Normal people in the street speak German. Strange people in the street speak English.

Although we have had several visitors already, she will be the first visitor who has never been to Europe before. Everything really will be new to her, whereas with our other visitors, maybe Germany was new, but Europe/overseas travel in general was not. My sister has never been through immigration and customs. Never shown her passport. Never been in a city or country operated in a different first language than her own. She's excited about it. It's just routine for a lot of our past visitors. Of course it is still awesome when they visit, that goes without saying, but they don't have as much of a sense of wonder at just being off their own continent, and that sense is something I especially look forward to vicariously experiencing again...even though it's been only two years since I first experienced it myself.


  1. Exciting! One of my girlfriends came to visit me last year in Frankfurt. I told her before my son was born that if he had his passport before she did, we couldn't be friends anymore. LOL! It was enough to get her moving, and she came to visit us when he was about 2 months old, and EVERYTHING was so exciting to her...even riding the U-bahn. It was great for her and me! I hope your sister's visit is just as exciting for you!

  2. Christine (BNABBT Darter)Sunday, January 27, 2008 2:27:00 pm

    When in Berlin, go to Zwiebelfisch in Savignyplatz (both the name of the platz and the associated S-bahnhof, so easy to find (S 5, 7/75, 9 - the one that cuts through the city horizontally. Also just a great ride, since you see everything important through the windows)). It's my favorite bar/restaurant in Berlin - their onion soup and chili are both amazing.

    Also, if you make it to Winterfeldplatz (at the Nollendorfplatz U-bhf (U1, 2, 3, 4) - you'll see a Kaiser on a corner - walk down that street) on a Saturday, they have an amazing market. The waffle stand has the best waffles I've ever tasted, and it's worth going just for the Spanish hot chocolate (I'm a hot chocolate snob - if it doesn't need a spoon, it's not thick enough). Across the street is a restaurant called Singapore that has really yummy cocktails if you feel like chilling out in the area afterwards. Their Sex on the Beach is fantastic. Even if the waiter did make fun of me for ordering it.

    Also, also, if you want to introduce your sister to Currywurst, Curry 36 at Mehringdamm (U6) is supposed to have the best in the city. I never got to try it, so if you go, you'll have to say how it is.

    Ok, I'll stop now. But I'm jealous. I really miss Berlin.

  3. Christine (BNABBT Darter)Sunday, January 27, 2008 2:54:00 pm

    Ok, lied, actually more.

    Avoid Schloß Charlottenburg - it was rebuilt in the 50s, and feels fairly artificial. Maybe walk around the gardens, but it's not worth the price of an entrance ticket. You are only allowed in a very few rooms. Sans Souci is much nicer, though a bit farther (it's in Potsdam. But, you can see the Neues Palais, which is also very nice, while you're there if you want to make a day of it)

    Oranienburger Straße (1 Sbhn stop North of Friedrichstraße on the S1, 2/25) has a lot of cheap but good places to eat. My roommate LOVED Amrit, an Indian restaurant there (which also had a location at Winterfeldplatz). Just avoid the young ladies in fluffy winter coats with corsets over them and fanny-packs - they are prostitutes.

    If you want to show your sister about Germany, the Deutsches Historisches Museum is awesome! It's a gorgeous pink building (Schlüter worked on it - it used to be the armory for the palace which was nearby) with an addition by I.M. Pei on the side on Unter den Linden (kind of across from the Staatsoper, next to Humboldt Universität). They have a really good collection of German history stuff (as one might guess from the name). Also, my then-boyfriend did some of the English captioning on their temorary Portugal exhibit :).

    Ok, I promise, that's it. Have fun! I can't wait to hear how it goes.

  4. That will be a cool experience. It was fun to see my sister- and mother-in-law experience Germany for the first time. Very fun. Tamara did most of the fun stuff, but it was great fun to have them here. Enjoy.

  5. You're going to have a blast. Glad to see you're going back to Dresden. I loved it there. You might want to see if you can fit Leipzig into your schedule also since you'll be so close.

    Yes, new perspective is fantastic - especially with a Europe 'greenie'. Hope you blog about it.

  6. I hope you both have a great time!

  7. Oh yes, Paris. I am jealous because it reminds me of a great time there (unfortunately it's been (too) many years ago).

    Your post also reminds me of my first visit to the US: a toilet with an incredible amount of water in it, milk sold in incredibly huge plastic bottles and, most noteworthy at that time, the opening hours of groceries; not to mention the friendliness of everyone...

    Well, Berlin, simply enjoy...

  8. Exciting! When will you be in Dresden? I'd love to buy the 2 of you lunch or dinner while you're here... and let's hope you can actually see the inside of the frauenkirche this time!

  9. I hope you are having a fabulous time with your sister! It's great to show someone a new see it new again through their eyes.


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