(Updated with more pics)
D. and I are currently en route to Slovenia. It is our last stop on this trip; when we return to Berlin, we’ll pick up our already-packed bags, spend a night at H.’s house and the next morning, D. will head home and I will fly south, like a goose a month and a half late for her summer migration. It’s too early to offer my final thoughts on our May/June adventures and thinking about it coming to an end made me well up a little last night, so I’ll talk things that elicit less emotion.
Like books. This week, I gave myself a taste of what’s to come by starting with two books on my reading list. Though I have a library card here, I don’t have rights to check anything out, so I have to read in the Lesesaal, the reading room. In the States, it’s not uncommon to see students with coffee and a snack reading in a well-cushioned easy chair, but the library here is a little more austere. No food or drinks allowed and you have to sit…at a desk! (Don’t worry…I took off my shoes, stood up…all in an effort to make reading for long hours a little more comfortable.) I think I would’ve been more productive if I could have taken the books with me. It is just too much to try to read a 300-page book in one sitting.
When I gave up, I met D. for lunch. Most days this week we had lunch together; two of those days at the Mensa, the student dining hall with steeply discounted prices. The selection is not the same at the “anything you can imagine including unlimited fro-yo” that fills many of today’s country-club-esque American universities, but I couldn’t help but wonder if young (often financially limited students) wouldn’t be happy with 1/3 of the selection for 1/3 of the price. I think I would. (And the food is pretty good! They had gnocchi, soups, fresh bread, tasty cakes…)
In other exciting news, the weather here warmed up this week. Like 15-20 degrees warmer! D. and I took advantage by biking to Mauer Park on Friday afternoon. We stopped at the local Bio-Markt and, with semi-blushing cheeks, I picked out my bev of choice: one of those mini-bottles of red wine with a screw top. D. went for carrot-orange juice. It feels a little peculiar drinking your wine straight from the bottle, but I embraced it and enjoyed the people watching that ensued.
Sunset in the park.
Saturday, we took D.’s “ex-dog” and said dog’s adopted brother to the dog lake. To get there, we took the S-bahn to Grunewald See and biked (as the dogs ran along side) maybe a kilometer to the lake. I have never seen so many dogs swimming. You could practically feel their joy and happiness as they chased stick after stick, greeted friend after friend, and swam for miles. I actually got in, too and the water temperature was, to my surprise, great…not too cold despite the chilly weather we’ve had.
More dogs than people!
After returning two [exhausted] dogs, we met H. for lunch at a delicious outdoor brunch spot in Charlottenburg. And, just in case we hadn’t had enough activity for the day, we went climbing. The gym was empty…the weather outside was just too nice to be indoors. Sauna-like conditions made for sweaty hands and exhausted muscles; needless to say, we didn’t climb too much. Back at home, we packed and cleaned up to get ready for our flight today.
The especially long layover in München inspired us to take the S-bahn into the city and WHAT A CHANGE! The last time we were here, it was rainy and cold. Today was hot and perfectly sunny AND we found chocolate ice cream. (Didn’t hate it…)
Just off the S-bahn in Munich.
Entering the Hofgarten in Munich.
As for now, we sit and wait for another two and a half hours before we board. A., hope you are having a great start to your trip! Gratitude: A really nice weekend so far. No sunburns. Free wifi, like, everywhere in Munich. Two delicious meals out yesterday. A comfortable waiting area in the airport.