We left the girls alone in the apartment since their groans told us they had no interest in joining us for a walk through the Tiergarten. M and I headed out midday under sunny Sunday skies, with the temps in the 40s. We took Eisenacherstraße north through our neighborhood, farther than I’d ever followed it, to the point where it changes names. I made an effort to lodge the name Courbièrestraße somewhere in my brain so I could find it again later. From there we turned right and emerged on a main thoroughfare, and I took a moment to turn around and observe the small opening, filing it away for future reference. Continue reading
When a friend back home emailed me a workout at my request, she suggested I find myself a 10-pound weight. I had given her the parameters: I want to stay in shape while we’re in Berlin by doing indoor workouts that won’t disturb our ornery neighbor downstairs. I have no equipment at my disposal. Could she help? Her reply was a screenshot of a workout she’d led with fellow rowers back in the Twin Cities, and it included “TGUs,” which she suggested I look up online. I learned that TGUs are Turkish Get-Ups, in which you lie down and then get up off the floor while holding a weight over your head.
I looked around our sparse apartment for a 10-pound weight. Certainly nothing we’d packed in our suitcases would come close to that, as the heaviest things we’d brought for our year’s stay were our winter boots. I turned to our landlord’s shelves, half-populated with a random assortment of history books from his university days. One book stood out: a hardbound Reader’s Digest Auto Atlas for Deutschland and Europa. I lifted it and saw that it would stay closed if I held it by its spine. Sure enough, it would become my new workout companion. Continue reading
Berlin streets are exhilarating on a bike. As a pedestrian I thought I’d never want to ride one in this city. That could be because we saw a bike accident within our first hour of arriving in our neighborhood in August. Not so much an accident as a slow-motion collision between auto and bike, the car backing up into the bike, the cyclist shouting at the driver, a mom with a small child strapped to a rear seat just a few feet away. The dad was still upright but getting dragged backwards as the car backed up. The driver quickly realized his error, threw it in drive and sped off, and the biking family was rattled but intact. A little unnerved, we continued our orientation walk in which I was planting all kinds of misinformation in my brain, mainly which direction was north and which was south, along with a renewed fear of riding a bicycle in traffic. I’m still trying to undo the faulty messages I received on that walk.