Monday, February 18, 2013

First We Take Manhattan, Then We Take Berlin

We had a stop in New York before flying out to Berlin.  In fact, we flew out of JFK because we were able to find roundtrip tickets for the both of us that were less than the price of one roundtrip fare out of Toronto.  Really, Canada needs to figure out the flying thing.  Anyone close enough to a US border is hustling that way to fly because the prices are so much better.   Yes, we can get into a discussion about government subsidy and taxes and fuel charges, but it remains - it's cheaper to fly from the States, and it's not like they're using vastly cheaper labour or anything.

Besides flying, we went to NYC to attend the opening of Raw & Rare, a show at Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art curated by a couple of our friends.  The opening was great.  Besides featuring both well-known as well as lesser-known works, it happened to be attended by a ton of our Toronto friends.  In fact, it seemed to be some kind of friend reunion, which was amazing.  We were flying out the next day so it felt like the perfect send-off.
The next day we spent a good amount of time freaking out about our luggage allowances on Airberlin, which, according to their website, has some rather strict (insert jokes about Germans here) rules about the weight of your carry-on baggage.  It was the first time we'd encountered that.  Suffice to say we did not have any trouble with our luggage although we paid for two extra checked bags.  I could go off on a tangent on the nickle-and-diming of airlines these days (we paid to pick our seats so we could sit together, we got only one bag of checked luggage each, etc.), but I think we all know that song.  I've sung the praises of Southwest Air before - bags and seats.  Thanks.  If you threw in some food (other than peanuts and pretzels), you'd totally win my heart.

We landed in Berlin yesterday morning and made our way to our fabulous flat (courtesy of  Of course we were exhausted, having slept only a few hours on the overnight flight, but we knew we couldn't just sack out if we wanted any chance of avoiding jet lag.  So we walked, and walked, and had lunch, and then got on a tour bus (something I almost never do), but the ladyfriend's mother swears by it - it keeps you awake and gives you a lay of the land.  And you know what?  It was pretty fun.  We managed to stay awake until 9pm, and then slept until 9:20am.
Locks on a bridge in the Tiergarten; photo by Liss Platt
Today we continued our exploration, but this time the stores were open (shops aren't open on Sundays; only some restaurants).  We went into KaDeWe, the largest department store in Europe and reminds me a Bergdorf Goodman-type of store.  I found a pair of Falke tights for 9,95Euros, which is a little less than $14.00 (Canadian) - a bargain!  My photo of them didn't come out well, but they're heavy cotton tights with horizontal stripes of varying widths in black, greys, and blues.  We also toured the food floor, which is kind of overwhelming.  I'm sure I'll post more about that on subsequent trips.

My German is serving us pretty well although I have a tendency to answer "No" if I don't quite get a question.  I'll have to work on that, but it's only our second day and our sabbatical is off to a good start.

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