Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Right off the plane, here she is!!!

So the girl came and left again today after five days of fun and laughter and a lot of sight-seeing.
AMAZING what you never get to do in your own city, isn't it? There's always this thought that there will be SO much time to go to that place or see this thing - and then you end up never doing it until someone from far away comes along and wants to see it all.

So we went to Berlin, where my family and I had not been since the Wall came down, and you know when that was, right? It is a modern, big city now, the Capital, and you hear many languages wallking down the boulevards, but not German. It was as COLD AS HELL.

I'll start at the beginning, though. While waiting for Charity, we strolled through the airport and came across these four guys. They look like a band, and they were sleeping the first time, but I wanted to ask if I could take their pic before I did.
"Yeah, man, sure!" was the reply I got.
I kept making up stories about them. My favorite version is: they are a Finnish rock band who performed in one of the Reeperbahn bars the night before and were now waiting for their plane to get home for NYE.

That was, as I said, on New Year's Eve.
We had a party and some friends over to meet our American Guest, and the neighborhood put on a really great firework show for us.

After a day of rest, Berlin.
Berlin in winter. Really, you realize how much closer to Russia and Moscow it must be, it being THAT cold there. Also, where in Hamburg you would mostly hear English or Japanese from tourists (and there are a lot of those here), in Berlin we mostly heard Eastern European languages, which are hard to know from each other and sound so much more foreign, and why exactly is that?

Here's what's left of the Berlin Wall. A piece of about 20 yards with some documentation, but that is all. The city looks the same on both its former sides, sometimes even grander and more spectacular on the Eastern.
Have I mentioned that it was cold?

Uhm, cold, right?
That huge cream building on the right is the US Embassy. It is huge, and right next to the Brandenburger Tor, seperated from it by a German bank. Go figure.
There was a rather cute guy watching the Embassy's gate, but none of us felt we should start a flirt with him. WAY to serious looking.

A piece of international history.
And yes, we still call the Americans "allies". They are. Were.

On a friendlier note, Berlin does have a Hard Rock Café.
I never knew why there was such a cult around the thing until we walked inside and had drinks and dinner there. That place alone might make me want to return to Berlin.
Heck, the starters alone would want me go back there!

The drive back home that night was less pleasurable because of - right; the snow. but we managed, and were up in time for more good stuff the day later.

Charity meets German food - not a good idea. The roast goose was fine, the red cabbage and dumplings - no. Sorry for that, girlie! You'll never have to go near it again!

Uhm, we went to this bar because of Pea.
When Pea and I first met and I told her I lived in Hamburg, she said she had been here, and visited the Red Light District.
Now Pea is the sweetest and daintiest of well-mannered ladies I've ever come across, and for the life of me I can't think what she might have wanted there, but she assures us that these are all hers and would we please return them to her post-haste via Charity, she is out of undies.
"Wait, what???"
They served pretty good Long Island Ice Tea at that bar, and it was only a few steps away from the place that is "forbidden" to "normal, regular, not-whore women".

Which is called "Herbertstrasse" and is a narrow street of shop windows with nekkid ladies in them. You know what that's all about, right? And here it is. Yes, we did dare go inside. Free country, and so on.

At a bar/lounge that allows smoking. One of a very few places left in Hamburg, I have to say, but an especially nice one.

And this is the view across the little lake right in the center of Hamburg where we were sitting then:

Here now comes the part that I'm really loathing.
Charity loves art, and so we went to the Hamburg Kunsthalle, the Art Institute.
We were there a couple of times, mostly with other guests, but not during the last ten years, quite honestly because I think 20$ entrance fee p.P. is a little steep for a regular Sunday afternoon enjoyment. But this here, this was different, and a great joy.
And I know that I will now go there more often, because it is money exceedingly well spent, and here we come to the loathing part:
I'm deeply ashamed I did not know about the famous paintings we had here!!!
There are some of my very favorites on display right here in Hamburg, and I never knew.
This, I loathe. Seriously.

Yep, folks, now you know why I am loathing this part alright. ALL those famous painters, right here, in front of my nose. *Turns away in shame*.

Now here is my conclusion.
We did not sleep very much. We did not really eat very regularly, either, we probably drank a little too much, and we covered a lot of ground.
I loved having Charity here, and it would have been great if she could have stayed longer, but hey, this was a spontaneous, fun thing we did, and a week with her a great, wonderful gift.
Also, it probably put me on my own way to traveling more than anything else ever did.
Bug, when you read this, I loved you coming over like this. And I'm looking forward to showing you Chicago in summer, just the way you showed me Hamburg.

And here is the last pic, and it shows how we felt most of the time.


  1. Mariam, you make me proud to be a member of the same species. You are a wonderful, wonderful person, and it radiates from every word you write. Thanks.

  2. Absolutely beautiful! The photos, the writing, all of it!

  3. LOVE IT! I look forward to many more similar posts next summer!

  4. What a wonderful fun time you had..
    Thank you for sharing.
    You are a superb writer and I do enjoy the pictures. I will be looking forward to your trip to the USA.

  5. Mariam, you truly are a kind, beautiful person! Very entertaining, clever and insightful blog!! :) I cherish my new friendship with you and look very much forward to more writings, comments, pictures and stories of all sorts from you!! On to Hell (Michigan)!!! :)

  6. Again here I am and just love this blog. Keep up the great work as I will do the same( as long as I can) loves to ya PA here

  7. Wonderful. Thanks--for everything.

  8. Mariam and Charity...

    What an awesome story you've afforded us! Charity, I apologize in saying that I had "forgotten" you! I do recall having enjoyed your blog in my early D'ville days, though... now that I've been reminded.

    Here's to more stories such as this one, during Twenty-Ten.

    Nicki-NY on D'ville
    Sollfire on blogger

  9. I absolutely love that last picture...totally captured the fun and friendship!!

  10. Thank you all for sharing these days with Charity and me. You all have come to real life for me, and summer will be here so soon now. :)