Yesterday evening I picked my niece and nephew up from the train-station. They will be staying with me until Sunday and I am full on aunty duty, which with teenagers is no easy task.
Since I can’t stand the “don’t care – don’t know – whatever” answers teenagers have so perfected I did what every good aunt should do and dragged them around Berlin all day long, hitting some main sights along the way and tiring both them and me out.
However even before we saw anything of interest my niece and nephew disappeared into the Ampelmännchen Shop. Now to understand this phenomenon I will have to explain about the Ampelmännchen. It is one of the few eastern German things to have survived the Iron Curtain and the little man wearing a hat has become an icon. He has even gotten company from a pigtail wearing woman, after all we can’t the the guys take all the glory. You can but t-shirts, pencils, postcards, pens, soaps, tea, sweets, bags, cup, lamps … really anything you can thing of with an Ampelmännchen on them, probably Berlins most desired souvenir.
Once out of the store, more than a few Euros lighter, we headed down to the Brandenburg Tor. Me trying to teach them things, they enthralled by all what was happening around them.
From there we wandered through the shade (thankfully) to the Reichstag. I had asked for an appointed (you need one to enter the Dome designed by Norman Foster) earlier in the week and was glad it all worked out as both me niece and nephew where thrilled. We spent a while up over looking Berlin and I invited them to a special treat of cake/ice-cream on the roof-top terrace.
Happy and fed I made them walk back to the Brandenburger Tor to see the Holocaust memorial as I really enjoyed it with my friend. At first they were unsure but after a while they got it and we played hide and seek between the slaps.
From there we went to the Ritter- Sport house. For all non-Germans, Ritter Sport is a chocolate brand that sells there delicious goodies in multi-coloured squares. The reason behind this trip was that you can mix and match the contents of the chocolate and create your every own chocolaty treat.
We had to wait a while for the chocolate to cool and since it wasn’t far I took my niece and nephew to see Check-Point Charlie. This was the best know crossing point from West into East Berlin. Not only did they see the sign that you can buy all over Berlin as postcards but we went to an exhibition that showed what it was like when the wall was still there. A massive mural gives you the feeling you have stepped back in time and speeches from Erich Honecker (former leader of the East German Governmennt) and John F. Kennedy even gave you an auditory vibe of an era long gone.
As we walked back to collect our chocolate my niece and nephew where fading fast but I still had time to spot a few interesting things.
Now the two tiered teenagers are fast a sleep, possibly dreaming of the adventures of the day . And I have to admit that I am totally exhausted from my aunty duties, my feet are sore and all I want is some sleep … after all I’ll have to do it all again tomorrow!