Night Location: Berlin - Germany
Song of the Day: Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve
Mumisode of the Day: "Where is our apartment from here?" while we were sitting in the coffee shop across the road. We find David laughing even funnier than what Mum says. Clearly we are more used to Mum than he is. David always manages to have a mouthful of drink when Mum says something hilarious.
The leisure day began slowly this morning. Gemma needed to find an internet cafe complete with printing and scanning so that the application for her job can go ahead otherwise it could be a fairly broke start to next year. This is harder than it sounds. Mum and Dad set off for a washing salon as Dad is running out of clean clothes. Mum packed up her green bag and went off smiling only to return shortly after as this was a dry cleaning shop. Reunited once more we crossed the street to explore the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. This museum houses some of the amazing escape vessels used to get people across the border out of the DDR. Although the stories are fascinating, the sheer number of people and the massive amount of fine print to read through in various languages meant that none of us survived that long. We have agreed that the museum is in serious need of a revamp.
The children headed off to an internet cafe, complete with patisserie at the front and a few computers at the back. It had advertised that it offered scanning, however no one in the shop knew how to use the scanner so we were a bit annoyed. The other tricky thing is the German keyboard that swaps 'z' and 'y'. Makes it a bit tricky for the touch typing skills when you are typing 'Halliday' a lot.
Amber once again directed us onto the bus and we headed for Berlin's central shopping district and the KaDeWe, Berlin's version of Harrod's. David purchased some cufflinks, and Gemma found an incredible green dress that was worth over 1500 euro so moved on. The department store has seven floors. A 'Winter Garden' restaurant is on the top floor and is a self serve cafe filled with food that looks incredible with an impressive price tag to match. David managed to buy a plate of fruit worth 21 euros. Luckily it was the best pineapple he had ever eaten so it made the price hurt a little less. We have all decided that Australia needs a few more quality take away cafes. You can purchase really good quality sandwiches everywhere here, and the bread is as good as we remembered.
After a rest, another game of 'Scrabble' and some dinner, the children set off again for the Europa Centre to see the chemical clock that Dad had told us about. We have no idea how this clock works. There are numerous glass bottles filled with green liquid that trickles in as time passes. A circular vat represents the hours, and a super-sized test tube the minutes. The tube fills up as the hour passes and then empties into one of the vats. Very difficult to explain! David had also been looking earlier for the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche. This is a church that was bombed during the war and has been left as it was. A blue glass brick memorial church in a tall cylindrical shape has been built on one side and a memorial hall on the other. We looked everywhere for this church, only to realise that what we had been looking for was hidden under the sneaky German scaffolding covers. If a building is being restored and requires scaffolding it is wrapped so that you are unable to see what is going on underneath. This is probably for safety, but it definitely would make for an impressive unveiling. A bit disappointing that we couldn't see the church, but we have to leave something for next time.
Our final stop for the evening was the German Reichstag. We had attempted to go up the dome earlier in the week but had discovered that a reservation was required and so were left with a 22:15 time slot on Wednesday evening. It is a high security process, requiring metal detectors and passports. The doors to the Reichstag open one at a time so everyone is in a lock between the inner and outer doors. Totally worth the hassle though. The glass dome on top of the building provides an incredible view over the city. The glass with the mirrored central stem reflects the night lights making it even prettier. You can walk around the inside of the dome on a spiral ramp and peer down into the parliament room itself. We think it would be a fairly interesting room to sit in and look up at the mirror and glass dome.
Amber directed us home via some more buses. She is so clever at knowing where we are and we set about the task of packing up again. The packing seems to happen far too frequently and the bag isn't getting any emptier. Every time Gemma's bag seems a little harder to pack while Amber is forever creating a new foundation to make her backpack even more compact. It doesn't seem fair really!
Tomorrow, another train and transit day. This time to Aachen via Koln (Cologne).