I had a great trip to Berlin: a successful conference and some wonderful catch-up time with friends/colleagues from around the world whom I only get to see once a year. I also got to do a bit of sightseeing. We took a bus tour that took us past Checkpoint Charlie and the remains of the Wall.
The Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gates
And many modern things to see, as well, like the Sony Centre and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
Berlin is a very interesting city, full of history. There is much more to see than I was able to take in. Partly this was due to the crippling heat wave that gripped the city. I snapped this photo of the thermometer near our hotel. The equivalent of 40 Celsius is 104 Fahrenheit.
It was brutally hot, but not as humid as it would have been at home. If you could find some shade, and if you sat still, it was almost pleasant to be outside, since the linden trees scented the air delightfully. This was the nicest place I found: a wisteria covered tunnel outside the Jewish Museum.
Our conference dinner was held in the food hall at the magnificent department store Kaufhaus des Westens, or KaDeWe. This Guess advertisement is not as classy as the merchandise inside the store.
I was skeptical when I heard the plan, because I was thinking of a typical food court in a North American mall, but this was nothing like it. Here are just some of the things we sampled.
The big news while we were there was the FIFA World Cup. Germany made it into the semifinal round and team spirit, like these flags, was very high all over the city.
However, they lost to Spain, as was predicted by Paul the Octopus. If you don't know Paul, he is an octopus who predicted, with perfect accuracy, the winners of the World Cup matches. In the picture below, you see the plastic boxes representing Germany and Spain. Each box contained a mussel. You can see him wrapping himself around Spain's box and prising open the lid.
I had a fairly stressful trip home, since my initial flight from Berlin to Paris (for which I rose at 3.30 am) was cancelled, sparking a chain of mini-disasters involving luggage and missing flights that saw me flying home in the middle seat. Somebody has to have the middle seat, but it's pretty awful when both your seatmates are strangers and the flight is so long. Never mind, I'm home now and pretty well over the jet lag. While I was away, my blessed husband did a major house cleaning. He really is a marvel around the house - and he is by far a tidier person than I am. However, he dumped everything for which I am remotely responsible on the dining room table for me to deal with on my return. I would show you the acre of stuff that is piled up there, but I'm afraid you would never visit my blog again from the horror. That should all be dealt with by the weekend and I can get reacquainted with my sewing machine again.