Friday, October 29, 2010

Libby's New Trick

Libby is now a proficient stander.  She prefers standing to sleeping and eating, in fact.  She stands at the headboard of the bed, next to the nightstand, at the coffee table, at the couch, in the kids room at the foot of Max's bed and at the bathtub.  She is so proud of her skill, and her only complaint is that she doesn't have free hands while she balances herself.  So in order to multi-task, she can also pivot at the coffee table and lean with her back against it so she can play with things with her hands.  She is seven months old.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Friday in Berlin was spent by Rachel and the kids near the Hackescher Markt U-Bahn stop visiting Museum Island and the surrounding area.  The first destination was the Pergamon Muesum where we saw chiefly the Collection of Classical Antiquities.  Unfortunately, Rachel forgot to preface the museum trip with "museum etiquette" lesson for the kids.  But in reality, the pieces on display have already survived for thousands of years, right?  Our visit was not cramped by the one security guard who decided to follow us around.  The Pergamon Altar, Ishtar Gate of Babylon, and the Market Gate of Miletus were breathtakingly beautiful.  Edy enjoyed the brightly colored beaded necklaces and earrings especially.  

After lunch, Rachel and the kids walked past the Berlin synagogue and eventually met up with Philip.  Like many other big cities, there are a lot of musicians performing on the sidewalks.  A couple of the better ones included a  7 member brass band playing Latin music, and a one man Peruvian pipe player who also played the drums and maracas at the same time as making giant bubbles and tying balloon swords.  We had to put coins in his hat.

Philip considered it a priority to take a boat tour of Berlin.  This was well worth the effort.  The kids insisted on riding on upper deck of boat.  This was chilly on the outside, but we were warm on the inside because of a special Berlin brew that was fruit flavored and enjoyed by all. 

By far our favorite part of Berlin was dinner with Jason and Jessica Bell and their children on Friday night.  We met them in Göttingen and made a point of getting together again.  Their children are darling, the conversation was sparkling and all our children combined livened the atmosphere of the entire restaurant we ate dinner at. 

Saturday morning, and afternoon, and evening was consumed by our trip home which...hmmm... is now over.

Berlin Synagogue

ancient mosaic floor

What the Pergamon Altar looked like new

The Bells

Friday, October 22, 2010

Berlin Part Zwei

Is Lego Land Discovery Center worth waiting in rain with four children for a hour?  The answer is "yes".  Edy, Max and Lucy absolutely loved it and each objected to leaving in their own unique way.  There was a lot to keep busy with in the three hours we stayed, especially because the place was so packed that we were slow moving.  Highlights included: amazing "nerf style" playground, race slopes for a car that one just built with lego supplies, and a "dragon ride" that the three kids went on by themselves while Rachel held Libby (who was not allowed to go).  Lego Land was also chock-full of life-sized Lego creations of people, creatures and characters.  Rachel's favorite was Lego Indiana Jones.  

After meeting up with Philip (whose days here are full of Fulbright commitments), we saw the beautiful Berlin Cathedral (now a Lutheran Church, performance hall and Museum), the Pegniz River and the Radio Tower all lit up with colorful lights.  It turns out that the time we are here is the Berlin Festival of Lights.  Many other structures and fountains are lit with a lovely show.

On Thursday Rachel and the kids saw the best zoo any of them had ever seen.  The Berlin Zoo is beautiful and fun.  None of them noticed the cold rainy weather while they walked from pelicans to penguins and monkeys to meercats.  The kids enjoyed the baby animals especially; lion cubs being bottle fed by zookeeper while angry mother paced in cage next door.  

That evening Philip took the family to see the Chancellery.  We have been sleeping hard in our hostel room, lulled to sleep by the hum of the U-Bahn within view from our window.

The kids are showing off their Lego souveniers

Pieces of the Berlin Wall