the fellowship ended in Berlin

So, I fell in love with Berlin and can't promise that I won't be going back there for more. The "free tour," we found--which winds up being free, with you paying what you feel the tour was worth at the end--was amazing! I would definitely recommend this tour company (New Berlin Tours), but be advised that you should go online the night before and register, so you have a spot when you show up. There were over 100 people at the meeting place when we showed up and they split us into groups of roughly 25, those who hadn't registered weren't guaranteed a spot.

Our group had this wonderful tour guide named Alexander "Zabi," a half German, half Englishman; a fascinating fellow who knew his history (and could have been James McAvoy's cousin!), and who loved to tell the most fascinating stories (both of the history and the players) of each thing we saw. He was well versed in the history of each place and absolutely interesting as hell! And funny. And did I mention he looked like he could be James McAvoy's cousin?!

The tours are walking tours, which wind up taking about 2.5 hours, but are a great way to see the "big tourist spots," which is what I wanted to see.
  • Pariser Platz
  • The Brandenburg Gate
  • The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • The Site of Hitler’s Former Bunker
  • Luftwaffe HQ
  • The Berlin Wall
  • The Former SS Headquarters
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Gendarmenmarkt
Wonderful wonderful!

After a rest and freshen up the Germans led the way: a short tram ride, and walk to a cute little restaurant, where we sat outside and I tried to memorize everything about this beautiful city: the laid back people, the bicyclists, the grungy-punk kids with their signs, "MONEY FOR WEED + ALCOHOL!," the monuments, the smells, the sound of the trams and trains and cars...
And then the food came; I'd asked the Germans for traditional German food, or as I told Yannick, "German soul food," and they did not fail. It. Was. AMAZING. I will have to do more searching for the name of the restaurant, because this place is too good to keep a secret!! I ate boiled potatoes, mounds of sauerkraut, pork, stuffed cabbage, more sauerkraut...nom nom nom. My mouth is watering.

And since I had to be at the airport so early, we went to bed early. My last night on a lumpy hostel mattress, falling asleep to the hoots and drunken laughter of the Berlin revelers all around us.

And so the Fellowship came to an end at Tegel Airport...16 days; 6 countries: Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Denmark; 3,500 miles of driving; spent Euros, Swiss Francs, and Danish Kroners; heard loads of languages; in the end most ready to head home.

While we were getting ready Monday morning, ChicagoBoy for work, me for heading back to Sticks and my first (half) day back, he looked at me and said, "The dream's over, back to reality today,"  to which I had to reply, "But it was such a lovely dream while it lasted..." *sigh*


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