Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 20, 2013 – Day 49 – Berlin, Germany Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures)

May 20, 2013 – Day 49 – Berlin, Germany  Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures)
Berliner Baar - One of many that can be seen around Berlin when you least expect them.
Claudia, our lovely and oh-so-nice landlady, told us about the Karneval der Kulturen in Kreuzberg long before we reached Berlin.  It is a green and multi-cultural carnival.  On Sunday, we went to a very colorful parade that included floats and bands (heavy on drums) from a variety of ethnic cultures.  It was a beautiful day, and we went early to get a good place on the parade route.  We ended up at the beginning of the parade which meant we got to see a performance from every group that came by.  At about 38 of 79 floats, we bailed and went to get a beer and a doner (you will remember doner sandwiches from Munich, I think).  Kreuzberg is part of East Berlin and is home to the largest Turkish population outside of Turkey; as such there are Turkish restaurants everywhere.  By the time we finished our meal and went back to the parade route, the U-bahn had regurgitated thousands of people – fueled no doubt by the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend and the lousy weather of the previous day.  We couldn’t get out fast enough. 

For some reason, we opted to go back again the next day.  It was Whit Monday, the day after Pentecost Sunday and a national holiday in Germany. We, of course, did not realize that until we tried to go to the mall on the way home – closed!  We have had at least five holidays since we left home. The Europeans could teach Americans a thing or two about time off.  We had a great time at the Strassenfest.  There were booths from many countries with an emphasis on the Middle East and Africa. Great music and lots of ethnic food, but I jumped at the chance to have good old corn-on-the-cob.  I have had exactly one hamburger since leaving the states, but lots of pizza and Italian food interspersed with Schnitzel and Bratwurst.  We went back to the apartment after several hours at the carnival and watched Avatar in German.  Then we went out to the nearby Italian restaurant which we have made our go-to place when we want food and don’t want to either cook or go too far.  We are becoming quite friendly with the staff.  They tell me I speak very good German, but I have been disappointed in my inability to understand what people are saying.  I have always been good at writing and speaking other languages, but I can’t hear what people are saying to me.  I’m really hoping to work on that in the 25 days we have left in Germany. 

I would have had lots more pictures to choose from at the carnival parade, but my camera battery died. 

Whenever we see frogs, we think of our friend Cindy Lindsey - the word for frog is Frosch in German.
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One of many showgirl-type outfits in the parade.
The Devil 

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