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September 8 -- Berlin by bike

We decided to take a trip around Berlin to see the lay of the land. I convinced Pam and Heide that we should try a bike tour. They rent you bikes and helmets, and a very knowledgeable guide takes you around the sites. You can see a lot more on bike than you can on foot.

So we took the U-bahn to East Berlin, and met at the bike shop which was very near the station. A handsome young british architect was our guide. We rode around and saw the places where the wall had been, saw the Reichstag, some of the new government buildings (very modern), and a Frank Gehry-designed bank building near Brandenberg Tor. We viewed one of the remaining segments of the wall, and then went over to Checkpoint Charlie for lunch. We saw a new striking holocaust monument they're building along the way.

The tour lasted about three hours and it was a fantastic way to get an overview of Berlin.

From there, we stopped in a convenience store at the station to get some bottled water, and headed back to our hotel. (More on this later.)

As we walked to the hotel, I remarked "I wonder when Carol and Tina will get here". Just as we turned the corner and opened the door to our hotel, there they were, with the biggest collection of suitcases I'd ever seen! They were staring at the stairs trying to figure out how to proceed. We helped them lug their bags (they had just come from Turkey, and had loaded them up with gifts (stuffed camels) and conference handouts so the bags were heavy).

Once they checked in, we all went out to a nice dinner.



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