Sunday, June 9, 2013

German parliament and monkeys

I am always amazed by people who are able to get up really early and make the most of their day - I am even more impressed by people who are getting up early on weekends. 

My early morning run turned into another sweaty run around noon. By the time I began my circle around the park, that place was already filled with dozens and dozens of people having lunch, doing yoga, or, of course, sunbathing. 

I am so sore from all the biking Nick and I have been doing all over the city, that I am taking it a bit easier on the running until everything is healed properly. So, a slow 4miler worked perfectly, especially since Nick and I had grand plans for the day and I had to get ready. 

I didn't take any pictures at the park, but I saw these Trabbis (the famous GDR car brand "Trabant") on my way home.

Now to the important stuff!
Nick and I reserved tickets to go to the top of the "Reichtstag" today. It's free and open to visitors, but you have to pre-register online. Then you just bring your passport, go through the security check, and the fun can begin!

On our walk to the entrance, it hit me with sheer horror that we may have to walk all the way to the top and climb stairs?! Trust me, stairs are evil! When we went to the Dom in Cologne in December, I was surprised with a stair-nightmare of over 500 steps! Who does that?! There are no words to describe the pain and the noise my body was making just from breathing. Clearly, this was the closest I have ever been to a near death experience. It was rough. 

With that in mind, the greatest thing to see this morning was the elevator: a huge 50 person elevator that took us right to the top of the building, from where we toured the glass dome with a beautiful view over the city. 

Be prepared for lots of pictures!

This is Angela "Angie" Merkel's office. It's Sunday, so no one was working today.
Everybody has gotta rest! 

View of the Brandenburg Gate, the American Embassy (behind), Hotel Adlon (to the left), a hot air ballon (up in the air) , and lots of construction sights (all over). 

The "Alex", the Spree river, and in the back (green dome) the "Berliner Dom". 

The largest inner city park ("Tiergarten") and the "Siegessäule". 

Again, the Spree river, a boat, a crane, and (below the crane, really small, and gold) the New Synagogue. 

They had the audio tour guide perfectly timed to my attention span. I really appreciated it.

The fun didn't end here!

After walking in a circle for a while, looking at roofs, and harassing people to take pictures of us, we took the bikes and went to the Zoo!
I know. Not everyone likes the Zoo, and I understand that completely, but I can't help it - I just love looking at the animals and see what they are up to.

After successfully buying two overpriced tickets, Nick and I were a bit confused about where to go. They didn't give us any maps! How do you find your way around without a map? Or big red arrows on the ground?!
So we did what everyone does when in panic about getting lost: we got ice cream. Twice. (Actually, only I went for a second round, but I offered to share, so it counts for Nick, too. Yes.)

Then we found animals! Lots of them!

This guy was the first one we saw. 

I have no idea what it is or what he does, but we thought he was awesome. 

This little pig was very serious about his rock, which he kept pushing through the sand. 

They have really weird butts. 

German giraffes! 

This one was just inappropriate. So inappropriate.

The monkeys made our day. This guy had put on a "potato-bag cape" and the others were trying to
steal it from him:

... and they were successful.
You should have heard how he screamed
from the top of his lungs, as they were pulling on his cape. 
...what followed was an incredible hunt for the potato-bag cape. They were on top of each other, chasing each other around, and the baby topped it off by spitting water on them. 

If you are ever bored. Go watch monkeys. I could have stayed there forever.

You may wonder: why is there a picture of the playground? You see, German and American playgrounds are different, like many things. Here, it is perfectly ok to climb up on the outside of a 12foot "dinosaur egg" and walk around on top of it. Nick was shocked. He thought they were doing it wrong. Nope. This is how it's meant to be.
Some call it brave, some call it dangerous. Your call.

We are back home now. Perfectly in time for the rain to start.

How have you spent your Sunday? Did you see monkeys, too?

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