More and more my thoughts dwell on coming home. Where should we live? How will we find jobs? What’s next for us? But officially, we have possession of our apartment here until July 31. I can’t adopt a homeward bound attitude yet. I have so much more to experience here. But it’s hard to keep myself focused. Eight months have never felt so long, and we have over two to go. I let the blog lapse because it’s cold and rainy here and I’m full of worries. I gotta be done with that. It’s time to dive back in.
Aaron’s parents visited for a week, and that gave us the motivation to explore outside Berlin. May 1, International Worker’s Day, is also Berlin’s annual Riot Day. This is Germany. Of course we schedule our riots. So, instead of joining the fray of banner wavers and police-car burners, we tiptoed out of the city to visit bucolic Kloster Chorin, a medieval monastery.
From the Chorin train station, visitors traverse the adorable village of Chorin, replete with farm animals and vegetable gardens, and stroll through a refreshing woods.
The monastery perches above a lake, whose shores also host a specialty honey restaurant. I ate asparagus strawberry salad in honey vinaigrette. I can’t get over how ridiculously sweet this little journey is. Right down to a honey restaurant. Of course.
A few days later, we trekked out to the Polish border to the town of Görlitz, one of the few places in Germany that wasn’t completely destroyed during WWII. We wandered through the truly ancient streets, popping into churches, admiring Renaissance facades, and, oh yeah, walking over the bridge into Poland.
As soon as we got to Zgorzelek, Poland, it started to rain and we darted back to Germany.
I ate one of the most delicious lunches of my life, a local specialty called Schlesisches Himmelreich (the Silesian Kingdom of Heaven): ham and roasted fruit in a cream sauce served with puffy dumplings. Our daytrip to Görlitz began and ended with a 2.5 hour drive conducted by me, the only eligible driver according to the car rental shop. Aaron’s mother presented her valid Michigan license only to be rejected because the license says “Operator’s License.” “This doesn’t tell me that you can drive,” said the rental agent, in that inimitable German bureaucratic tone that admits no argument. “I don’t know what you can operate.” I had a few ideas of what I’d like to operate in relation to our rental agent, but instead, I sweetly handed over my New York Driver’s License. Aaron’s license expired on his birthday in January, so he wasn’t getting the keys to any car either. The situation improved when the rental agent upgraded us from the VW Golf we’d reserved to the enormous Mercedes they had on hand. I zoomed off, and made my cautious most of the no speed limit Autobahn.
Upon our return to Berlin, I drove us through Checkpoint Charlie in all its historical significance. Few places in the world look so welcoming as an abandoned restricted border crossing.