Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tuscany and Our First Day in Berlin

Our Tuscany Bike Ride

Our time bike riding in Tuscany was really great; we spent every day riding through beautiful countryside dotted with towns that have been around for hundreds of years.  The weather was cooler than years in the past when we visited Tuscany in September, which kept us from swimming in the Mediterranean, but it was actually very nice for bike riding.  We had a day of overcast with a forecast of rain, but we rode anyway and managed to stay dry.  Other than that we had sunny days that were great for riding.  Linda and I did a couple of side trips into Cecina and San Vincenzo which were small cities and kind of an interesting change from the villages and towns.  The trip also had a tour of a local winery and a lunch at an olive grove.  We had a lot of fun, saw some old friends from past rides and met some new ones as well.

One of the towns we visited

Tuscany to Berlin

Our trip from Tuscany to Berlin was an all-day project, using about every form of public transportation available, taxi cabs, buses, trains, planes, and subways (U-Bahn).  Several of the legs of our journey in Italy were a little late, and while this stressed us out, we made all of our connections.  Our apartment in Berlin is right in the middle of the city and has a spectacular view at night and during the day.  The former Berlin wall ran through where our apartment is located.  When we look out at Leipziger Platz below, we can see the markers for where the wall stood a few years ago running from our apartment across the Platz.

Our view

A few pieces of the wall

The entrance to our apartment and the reminder of the wall in the sidewalk

Our first Day in Berlin

We spent our first day in Berlin walking around and enjoying the sights.  Even though there was a forecast of showers, most of the locals used the day to enjoy the outdoors and we saw no reason to do anything different.  There was a real festival mood to the city.  We walked over to Potsdamer Platz just about two blocks away and they were holding an outdoor festival emphasizing organic farming and produce, but also with lots of attractions for children.  It was and interesting combination of things, kind of like a harvest festival.  Since we have a refrigerator, we bought some produce and whole grain bread.

Linda buying bread

We walked up one of our favorite streets, Unter den Linden to Alexander Platz, enjoying the sights, looking at all of the new construction, and doing a little shopping.  We purchased a pair of one week transportation passes that allow us to ride the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, or buses as much as we want.  We used the U-Bahn several times today after we did some shopping across town and took our groceries back to the apartment.  We had a great time looking around our favorite city, we stocked up with some food for the next couple of days and we are looking forward to our stay.

Berliner Dom along Unter den Linden

Berlin is a fun city with all sorts of places to stop and enjoy yourself for a few minutes.  There are more coffee shops, bakeries, and stores with fun things than you can imagine.  Even doggies can get a seat at a coffee shop, and do some really focused begging for a treat.

Patrons in the coffee shop

We should have a great time, this month has several events going on while we are here, the federal elections today (we should find out who the new chancellor is soon), the Berlin Marathon next weekend, and Unification Day is the day before we leave for home.  We think it should be a great time to be in Berlin.

Well, that is all for now, it is off to bed, and tomorrow, we will plan a new day.

We hope you are doing well,

Linda & Stephen

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