One great thing about being in London is that trips to the European continent are so short. Going to Germany isn’t a major trip like it is from home. No jet lag! I had a great weekend in Berlin with Anna!
Here are some images from my weekend:
The Brandenburger Tor at night
KaDeWe Department Store
The mustard selection at the KaDeWe (How many do you need?):
A walk in the Tiergarten
Walking around all areas of the city:
On Sunday, we enjoyed an exhibition about Germans and their forests at the Deutsches Historisches Museum, before meeting my cousin, Simone, for kaffee und kuchen in Kreuzberg.
One of the most meaningful parts of the weekend was a trip to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg. I joined Anna and her program on an excursion there on Friday, which was a fittingly cold and overcast day. We decided not to get the audio guide, as I think it would have been sensory overload. Rather, we walked around quietly to absorb what we could of the horrible events that occurred there.
I didn’t know that the Pillsbury Doughboy had some colorful cousins. I wanted to poke their tummies! Sina was visiting us for the weekend, and we found this sculpture near Marble Arch. Actually, it is called The Jelly Baby Family and was created by Mauro Perucchetti as part of the 2010-2011 City of Sculpture Festival.
Marble Arch is much smaller than what I had imagined.
According to Wikipedia, Marble Arch was originally designed in 1825 as a ceremonial entrance to a courtyard of Buckingham Palace. It was dismantled and moved to its current location in 1850. Though popular legend says it was too small for the State coach, it was relocated when the Palace courtyard was enclosed.
Nearby is the Animals in War Memorial. This monument is very moving. My mother’s family had horses that were drafted in World War II, and the family was devastated to lose them.
On Saturday, Sina and I enjoyed walking around Camden Market. This series of markets is located in a charming area along Regent’s Canal. It is huge, with stalls that seemed to go on and on forever, providing a little bit for everyone. This area is known for its edgy shops – tattoos, piercings, goth clothing, techno gear – but it offers more than that, too. It reminded me of the markets of Dubai, but without the super aggressive sellers.
After days of clouds and/or rain, we finally had a sunny day on Monday. We were tired of visiting museums, so Anna and I decided to explore Regents Park. I thought winter would mean that the gardens would be boring. Although I’m sure they are more beautiful in the spring and summer seasons, the formal plantings were still interesting and pretty, offering varied foliage and cold-loving flowers. Even the fountains were still operating.
We walked around the little lake, enjoying the many different birds. We even saw some ring-necked parakeets.
We saw many dogs along our walk. Both Anna and I missed Rosie, so we decided to head to Harrod’s to see if they had any dog costumes on sale. Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything that we liked in the pet department, but we did find that Harrod’s had a Ladurée shop that sells those yummy macarons. We couldn’t resist!
Late last night, the girls returned from a 36 hour trip to Paris in time to celebrate Anna’s birthday today!
Since many of the main tourist sites were closed, we headed down to Borough Market to do some last minute food/gift shopping.
After a brief visit to Southwark Cathedral, we walked back to the flat via Millennium Bridge past St. Paul’s.
Anna jumped for joy to learn that we were picking up a birthday cake at a Paul’s bakery.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!
So now I get to be the tour guide…
Took the girls to see Westminster Abbey. It really is an impressive place. I wish I could linger a little longer inside as the audio tour seems to hurry you along. Perhaps I have to return for one of their special tours or a service. I spent a little extra time inside Henry VII’s Chapel, marveling at the sculptures, the intricate and funny carvings called misericords (you can read about them here), as well as the graffiti in the stalls.
Some more atmospheric photos:
Anna and I also visited Kensington Gardens to pay special homage to Peter Pan.
When I visited Kensington Gardens before, the Italian Gardens were closed. On this visit, they were open again, so we could see the beautiful fountains.
We also made a detour to Harrod’s to drool over the cupcakes and other goodies in the food hall, and wander through some of the other departments. While I fantasized in the pet department about dressing up Rosie as a gingerbread man,
Anna was dreaming about dancing with large teddy bears.