Days 12 and 13: Ich bin ein Berliner

For the most part, on Saturday, we did things that a Berliner might ordinarily do. We started off with a breakfast at a leisurely pace at a small cafe. Like many things in Berlin, the food was inexpensive and very good. Called Cafe Butter, we enjoyed an all-you-can-eat buffet with nicely-presented pastries, fruit, potatoes, fish, and other meats. Including a few mimosas and other drinks, the meal for four cost us just over $50, and about twenty cents to feed the parking meter. The weather was perfect for sitting outside, where live music added to the already pleasant atmosphere.

Missed the beginning of the trip? Start here.

Cafe Butter, where we started the day.

After breakfast, we headed outside the city for a unique shop in a small town that gave us a chance to see life where signs of the Soviet influences in East Berlin were alive and well. We made another stop in north central Berlin (kind of on our way back), drove around town a bit, and ended up making a stop at the Mall of Berlin.

What weighs less than a Smart, and emits more hydrocarbons than a modern tractor-trailer? That’s the Trabant, this one still in taxi service.
Next time, I’m going to insist on taking one out for a drive.
This company offers guided tours of Berlin. You drive, your guide tells you how just like you’d expect from a German mother-in-law.
If it wasn’t obvious which side of Checkpoint Charlie was the American side, here’s a sign.
Canals, rails, and bridges in Berlin are quite interesting, as most were damaged or destroyed during World War II.

German Museum of Technology

Yes, here we go again. Germanic people have been known for engineering for some time. The Berlin Technical Museum was huge, and we really didn’t leave enough time to fully take it in. From World War II-era planes fished out of lakes and rivers, to ship models and Holocaust relics, the museum was an impressive treat.

This cute little display was just outside the entrance to the Berlin Technical Museum.
There was probably an acre of just ship models like these, displayed in glass cases and built with incredible detail.
If I remember correctly, this plane was discovered and fished out of a lake in 1990. Many of the exhibits were unrestored, original, damaged examples.

It was certainly interesting to see how relics of war and technological advancements used in support of awful causes were displayed. It certainly wasn’t covered up, but it wasn’t celebrated either.

American Sector with no guns? And you have to obey traffic rules? Definitely not quite the full American experience.
If you’re not sure which side of Checkpoint Charlie puts you in the American sector, just look for the Colonel and Ray Kroc’s golden arches.
The four of us, shortly before parting ways at the airport.

By mid-afternoon on our second full day in Berlin, it was time to take our hosts to the airport for their flight back to Vienna. It was about a 20-mile round trip from the center of town, so we were back in the city in time for a little more afternoon sightseeing.

Since there were a few things we didn’t get to see on Saturday, we debated sticking around another day. It was late enough that we wouldn’t be up for the whole drive back to Brussels, so we found a cheap room for the night. After checking in, we enjoyed another nice dinner outdoors, this time at an Italian restaurant in Schöneberg, not far south from where we stayed the first two nights.

Monday morning we planned to be up and about, check out a few more things in Berlin and drive west to Brussels, more or less beginning the protracted trip back to the US. The rental car was due back there on Tuesday, where we’d catch a flight to Copenhagen.

Day 12 58.2 mi 0 mi 0 mi 2.1 mi
Day 13 25.5 mi 0 mi 0 mi 2.3 mi
Total 2,215.7 mi 3,814 mi 134.0 mi 54.3 mi

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