Thursday, August 23, 2012

As Berlin creeps closer...

This morning I thought that in three weeks, I'll be in Berlin.  For the first five nights, I will set up shop in the former West Berlin.  This wasn't really by design, but just because I found what I think is a great place to stay for an extended period.  Then I remembered the excitement of setting out that first morning in a city new to me, right off the plane (but freshly showered) and walking off towards all the things I'd only read about to that point.  I will have already pretty much mapped out where I'm going and what I'll see, but it's always good to sight the nearest underground stop, closest shop to buy bottled water and restaurants near the hotel.  For the next five nights and six days, this will become my neighborhood and I will probably beat the same path on and off this street more than I do on my own street at home on any given day.  I mean come on, be honest, how often do you actually walk off your street and explore? point proven!

I am still up in the air on what to do on day one.  It has to be outdoors, preferably, so that the fresh air and daylight will reset my body clock (which will be at about 4 a.m. when I land in Berlin).  It has to be something that won't take a lot of brain work.  Usually I hike directly to the famous monument or landmark that absolutely must be seen to prove to myself that I'm there (in this case, the Brandenburg Gate) but maybe the Berlin Zoo is calling to me.

This week, Berlin's Zoo lost its panda.  Bao Bao had lived there since 1980 and he passed on Tuesday at the ripe age of 34 years (extraordinary for pandas, even captive ones!).  I'd so hoped to see him but heard he'd not been well, so I'm glad he didn't hold out for me.  But Berlin Zoo also has a few new babies to be seen, like elephant and rhino, so maybe I'll do that on day one.  It's relatively nearby and would be a nice, mindless way to pass that first jetlagged day outdoors!

I am excited now.  Just wish there was a fast forward on the next 20 days!

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