This is such a treat and a hoot -- I'm sitting here in Berlin at 11 o'clock at night...listening live to the Northwestern University football game being played in the afternoon. It's halftime now, with the score 0-0, again Northern Illinois. The Cubs are playing, too, but I chose to go with the Wildcats. The Cubs play 162 games. NU plays 11.
An enjoyable, but odd day. It's my last in Berlin, and the elves say they're looking forward to me returning We'll see. Anyway, I had the day off here, no IFA, so a bunch of us took the Hop On-Hop Off bus. It's an interesting concept where you get a ticket to a tour bus that has an audio guide talking to you through headphones, and you can get off the bus at any of the 18 highlight stops. Making it better is at one of the stops is Schloss Charlottesburg, the old palace that I wanted to visit, but it was too far away, and I wasn't sure how to get there.
(By the way, this is the first time I've really done a full test of the Panorama feature of my Windows Phone. I think it came out extremely well.)
Overall, the tour was a good idea and enjoyable. There were a few glitches along the way, though -- some self-inflicted, some not.
Buses are supposed to come along every 10 minutes. Sometimes they came along in 3 minutes -- which is great, if you catch it; not so good if it catches you by surprise, and you miss it. And once it took 25 minutes for the bus to show up. In the end, in part because of delays, we missed the last bus. Well...we didn't actually miss it, we got on. But it was 7:00, and after we were all seated, and another Italian family got on -- the driver told everyone, "Get out. No more. Get out." We could have taken the subway back, though people felt a touch uncomfortable attempting it, so we walked 45 minutes back.
Then there's...well, the self-inflicted. I didn't fee tired. But I'd only had five hours of sleep, and late in the day I apparently dozed off. So, it was with a jolt that I was awakened by another of the passengers -- the others in my group had gotten off, and then someone realized to ask, "Where's Bob??" When they saw me asleep against the window on the upper deck, they got the attention of the woman and had her wake me before the bus could pull away. The good part of this is that I gave great pleasure to my fellow tourists on the upper deck who were laughing as I rushed off.
That particular stop was at a famous department store, KaDeWe. It's high-end and very attractive, but it's the place's food court area that's spectacular, on a level with Harrods in London perhaps. The sausage area alone was remarkable, dozens and dozens and dozens of different sausages and meets, and several glass cases full of them. You'll have to take my word for it, though, because there's no photograph available. Actually...there was a photograph. I took one, and then walked off. A few seconds later I was accosted by the short, chubby, aggressive, ANGRY counterwoman who came out for her station to track me down and berate me in unleashed fury. I tried to explain that I didn't know what in the world she was saying -- but the fact that I didn't speak her language didn't deter her. When I finally recognized the word, "VERBOTEN!", I figured that people aren't supposed to take photographs. (Why in the world not, I don't know, it's a department store, but apparently that's the rule.) I politely deleted the photo and showed her it was deleted...but even that didn't stop the litany of abuse from Frau Bertha. Eventually she stormed off, and I went off with my group. And again, I had given them great amusement. They also said that they wouldn't have deleted the photo. One said that she'd been to the store a few days earlier and had taken pictures. I did ask another counterman if photos aren't supposed to be taken -- he said that weren't, but some employees are fine with it (he was) and some aren't. (She wasn't...)
And dinner was...
You may recall my story last year on our group's last day of Berlin. The short version is that by total accident we went to the same tiny pub I'd discovered the year before and had gone alone, a half-block from the hotel where I'd been staying. But I didn't remember the name, and we went a totally different direction, so I didn't recognize getting there. But I well-remembered the place. Well, tonight, one of our small group wanted to go back -- so, I went to Stadt Klause for the third year in a row. It's mainly a tiny public, but they have a very small kitchen. The menu is extremely limited but tasty. I again had the schnitzel, and a Klausterbrau Marienstein dunkel. I rarely drink beer, but when I have one I oddly tend to like dark, heavy beers. This also has a slight sweetness and is very smooth and delicious. Whenever I've recommended it to other dinners, they've agreed.
And so the day ended. I have to get up very early, probably 5:45, so I'll finish packing and listen to a bit more of the Northwestern game, which is now in the third quarter. And...o joy, NU just took its first lead of the season, and are now winning, 7-3.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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