Thursday, August 29, 2013

Europe Trip Recap: Alexanderplatz and Berliner Dom

Sunday May 19, 2013, Part 2: Since this was our last day in Berlin, I still wanted to show mom Alexanderplatz and the Berliner Dom. We weren't that tired from our time in Potsdam, so we took full advantage of the tageskarte and took the train past our usual stop to Alexanderplatz. Since it was a Sunday, stores in the area were closed and only a few restaurants were open.

The World clock is something I think Berlin is famous for, so I had to show mom that and as the picture above shows, we also got closer to the TV tower. 

 I love the show The Amazing Race and I was excited to see the Park Inn, which is where contestants bungee jumped off of last season.

We just walked around the area and stumbled upon St. Mary's Church. My mom's name is Mary, so we had to check it out.

 I so wanted to buy one of these postcards, but I just decided to take a picture of them instead.

We stopped for some ice cream and then made our way to the Berliner Dom. I had been inside during my first visit to Berlin and didn't find it all that impressive, so I didn't want my mom to pay to go in and be disappointed. The outside is much more beautiful to marvel at.

We also enjoyed a pretzel on the grass outside the Dom.

Mom loves her pretzels! Like mother, like daughter.

We walked through Museums Island and then made our way to the train and got off near our hotel, at the Natural History Museum stop. I work in a Natural History museum, so I had to take some photos of the train station.

The museum. I hear it's a good one, but I didn't really want to go inside and think about work on my vacation.

We got some more food at the grocery store that night and I spotted this yogurt. I regret not buying it, but I thought it would be great for my stomach. I wish we sold something like this in the States.

Our total mileage for the day was just 7.73 miles. A lot less than I was expecting since we walked so much at Potsdam.

My snack back at the hotel was this yogurt.

I was missing Craig, so I kept looking at a photo I took of him before our trip that I had left on my DSLR. It was hard to contact him from Europe at this point and that didn't help with me at all.

Our last day in Berlin was a fun and jam packed one! I've been to Berlin three times now, but I don't think I will ever get sick of it and I'd like to go back there sometime in the future, maybe when I am in my 50's or 60's and it will have changed immensely by then.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Europe Trip Recap: Potdsam and Schloss Sanssouci

Part 1 of Sunday, May 19, 2013: Another terrible start to the day, for me at least. I woke up at 2 a.m. again and then when I awoke to get the day started, I felt nauseous. It was definitely jet lag that just hit me differently this time.

I choked down this fruit-quark. It was delicious, but when you don't have much of an appetite, food just isn't that appealing in general.

Once I felt like leaving the hotel without getting sick, Mom and I walked to the train station. We purchased a "Tageskarte" or day pass to get out to Potsdam on the S-bahn and then it also allowed us to take the bus to the palace and back for free. Well worth 7 Euros each!

I had been to Berlin before, but never any of the palaces in the vicinity, so I was excited to go somewhere new!

When we arrived at the Potsdam train station, we asked an information booth staffed by two men how long it would take to walk to Schloss Sanssouci. One man laughed back at us (in the funniest way by sort of spitting through his lips in surprise at my bizarre question) and said, 30 minutes or more. I think it would have actually taken longer. He suggested we take the 695 bus out there instead and that's when we also found out our day pass covered the bus far. Score!

Schloss Sanssouci was the summer palace and sanctuary for King Frederick the Great. I love that Sanssouci means "without care." What a great place to get away and forget about the world.

When we got off the bus, we saw this windmill, which made me feel like we were in the Netherlands rather than Germany.

We walked up to the ticket booth while listening to lovely music played by this guy.

We purchased tickets to see the interior for 12 Euros each. No photos were allowed of the inside, unless you purchased a photography badge and I didn't feel like splurging on that.

I snuck a photo of this Warhol of Frederick the Great on my way out of the palace.

The grounds were just gorgeous!

This gate was definitely one of our favorite pieces on the palace grounds.

We ventured down below the palace and looked up to see this amazing view.

Statues were everywhere.

St. George and the dragon.

We walked around some more and saw more buildings in the distance. That is when we realized just how huge the grounds were! Here was the "Chinese House."

Far off in the distance, we saw a building peeking through the trees and bushes and decided to head towards it.

Along the way, we saw these huge mushrooms up in the trees.

And we saw yet more buildings in the distance.

It turned out to be the Neues Palais or "New Palace" on the western end of the royal park of Sanssouci. It's considered to be the last great Prussian Baroque palace.

We didn't go inside the palace, but it was lunch time, so we had to find a place to eat right away because I was getting "hangry." I get really cranky when I am hungry and it's not pretty! I was glad to have an appetite after being so ill earlier that morning.

Mom and I found a little visitor's center with a cafe attached, so we had sandwiches. I tried to eat mostly vegetarian on the trip, so this was just cheese and veggies on some really delicious bread. At this point, I wasn't too sick of sandwiches yet, but would soon grow to become tired of them.

The visitor's center offered advice on how to get back to the train station via the bus and we found the bus stop to wait at nearby. Luckily, there was a nice couple from China/Australia to talk to there and converse about our home countries and where we were going on our travels.

As we were leaving Potsdam, I saw this cute sign and thought that it would have been fun to rent a bike to ride out to Potsdam and see more of the city, which looked really pretty and quaint.

My mom and I really enjoyed the grounds of Schloss Sanssouci and I highly recommend it as a wonderful side trip to get away from the big city of Berlin.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Week In Numbers (Post-Ankle Surgery Style)

I thought it would be fun to describe my week using numbers, so here we go:
  • hours spent on the couch with Tanzi: at least 30 since he curled up with me a lot in the beginning of the week, when I was more sleepy.

  • showers: one today and it felt glorious. I hadn't had a proper shower in a week and a half. I had to use this waterproof film to cover my scar up with.
  • visits to a fro yo place: one to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary with some dessert!
  • bad days: one, Wednesday was just awful thanks to the effects from anesthesia and pain pills. I had to cancel having my in-laws visit that evening because I just couldn't stand talking to anyone or doing anything.
  • meals cooked: one, if you count the pancakes I mixed up for breakfast this morning. It's really difficult for me to cook anything proper right now. I was delighted with the jam I put on my pancakes, which was a gift from a co-worker and his wife. She made it herself with Door County cherries, yum!
  • visitors: five. My in-laws, my sister who was in town from Minnesota, and my parents. All of them cheered me up immensely and it was nice to get taken care of too.
  • episodes of Breaking Bad: nine. We finished the first season and are into the second one now.
  • books finished/read: one. I finished Enjoy Every Sandwich: Living Each Day as If It Were Your Last and I am still getting through Whole and Cooked. When I got to the section set in Berkeley, CA in Cooked, I discovered this big ink splat. I thought to myself, "yeah, this represents your time spent living in Berkeley, Lisa."

  • times using a motorized cart: one at Sam's Club. It was a lot of fun and kind of scary at first! I really realized how difficult it must be to be disabled. I was sitting next to the yogurt case and a nice man asked if I needed help reaching something. I don't think I would have been able to reach the Chobani case on my own. Craig actually was walking towards me to assist, but it was nice to be offered help.
  • doctor's visits: two. I had a post-op on Friday morning and got my big cast removed (photo on the left) and went into a boot, which is just as heavy. I also got to see my scar, which is about three inches long and the bruising on my foot (I'll spare you those photos since I shared my disgusting allergy reaction photo in the past). The second visit was really to start being a clinical research participant for an allergy study and I am thankful to be getting paid for it. I have to keep a daily diary of my symptoms and take the meds.
  • episodes of Orange Is the New Black: five. I am really enjoying the show so far! The main character reminds me of how I would act if I went to prison. 
  • meals at restaurants: two. One at Noodles and Co. on Friday for my free birthday meal and another mid-week at a local sub shop.
  • visits to the gym: one today and I realized that missed it so much. Craig helped me navigate the arm weight machines and the bench press area. My cardio was spent on this machine, which I got the hang of after while and I enjoyed just moving a bit using it:

  • items ordered from Amazon Prime: four. Taste of the Wild cat food, a new Fossil wallet (everything I buy lately seems to be purple), wi-fi router for my parents, and organic coffee beans.
  • get well cards received: two and they were exactly the same. Craig's aunt is a fellow cat lady and sent me this awesome sticker on the envelope:
  • hours Craig spent taking care of me: too many to keep track of. I owe him big time, although he says I don't. He had to do so many things around the house this week and deal with my whining, crankiness, and almost tripping over my crutches so many times. Thanks to him for fulfilling his wedding vows and being so caring to me.
That was my week in a nutshell! I also read countless blog posts in feedly, did a little work from home to catch up on e-mails at my job, and learned of some major changes at my workplace with people quitting, etc. I am sure this week will be just as exciting! I have a lot more going on socially, so I know it will be. And I hope to start physical therapy soon too!