Brandenburg Gate

When Adam asked me if I wanted to accompany him on his trip to Germany, my mind began automatically formulating a reason to say no. Those of you who know me realize that I can take only so much of one person for a very short period of time before my nerves become frayed. My hairs will literally stand on edge like an irritated cat.

This trip demanded 10 days…10 straight days of seeing the same person every day without a break.

Turns out going with Adam was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. Not only is he a great travel partner, comedian (sometimes intentionally,) and gentleman, but he’s also quite the knowledgeable tour guide.

After two long and sleepless flights we arrived in Berlin and immediately headed out to grab a bite to eat. The weather was cold and overcast so Adam, who had packed my warm black jacket, asked me if I would like to wear it. I eyed my brown belt and shoes and asked him if we were just eating or eating and sightseeing. He replied with, “Just eating.” I immediately switched into a black belt and donned pointy toed three inch black heeled boots. (Possessing a minor sense of fashion I did not want to wear a brown belt and shoes with a black coat.)

The Reichstag

Adam and I apparently define “just eating” a little differently.

After “just eating” at a quaint café called Lebensart, we decided to stroll to Bradenburg Gate as it was, according to Adam, “right down the street.”
Adam and I define “right down the street” a little differently as well.
But it was worth the walk, even in heels. The ornate structure built in 1788, which stands as the symbol of Berlin with its 12 Doric columns, is a marvel to behold. Listening to Adam explain its history while furiously snapping pictures I felt a faint sting in my right foot. However, being caught up in the excitement of the post-“just eating” tour, I ignored this warning and we continued walking on uneven cobblestone streets to a few local shops before reaching the Reichstag.

the bike taxi Adam hired to relieve my blistered feet

The Reichstag is a spectacular building with a huge glass dome at the top that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding Berlin cityscape. Adam provided me with a quick monologue on its chaotic history, including its destruction at the end of WWII while we circled its massive grounds to the back and found ourselves near the Spree River. I promptly sat down on one of the steps leading down to the railed waterway and grimaced; my right foot was screaming bloody murder.
Watching Adam snap more photos of the back of the Reichstag and the river, I hinted that I was extremely tired and would like to take a short nap. He immediately started to head back but the excruciating pain of my right foot was such that I couldn’t walk all the way back to the hotel. As we neared the Bradenburg gate, I informed him that he lied to me about “just eating” and that my feet were now paying the price. He made a few jokes about carrying me or giving me a piggy back ride but I think my un-amused dark stare cut him off.

 Being the sweet person that he is, he quickly hired a bike taxi to take us back.

the majestic entrance to Berlin Cathedral

We rested for a few hours and after wrapping my blistered foot in industrial strength band-aids and wearing my much-more-comfortable tennis shoes, we headed out for a leisurely evening stroll before dinner. The richly decorated buildings were absolutely stunning in the romantic night lights, especially the Berliner Dom whose Baroque structure was magically alluring in the yellow hues.

Once Adam was satisfied with the various pictures he took, we wandered around looking for a restaurant. We ended at Quarré, located on the ground floor of the Hotel Adlon. We were terribly underdressed but the hostess graciously seated us. Promptly the server arrived and asked us if we would like to start off with a glass of wine. Without thinking, I asked if he would recommend a good “cab.” Immediately his pleasant demeanor changed to condescension.
“Cab??? “ he asked, looking down his nose. “Do you mean a Cabernet Sauvignon?”
Apparently they’re not big on wine slang in 5-star German restaurants.

ho-hum... Just another run-of-the-mill old government building anlong the River Spree

Slightly embarrassed, I nodded my head yes. He mumbled about an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon that he will bring for me to taste and recommended a nice white wine for Adam. When he came back I was slightly disappointed as it was a Ravenswood from Sonoma and one that I had already tasted. He waited patiently for me to take my first sip. Without thinking, I announced that I was chewing gum and it was affecting the flavor. Before I could say anything else, he shot me an annoyed look and turned his full attention to Adam and his glass of white. Though his back was to me I was quite sure he was rolling his eyes.
By this time Adam was clearly amused and I could see his body shaking with silent laughter.
I was bound and determined to enjoy a glass or two of red regardless of what the server thought of my ignorant American ways. I politely asked to see a wine list and he brought out two more samples before I settled on an elegant Rhone from Cotie Rotie. Once the wine selection was complete, the server did seem much happier (or possibly just relieved.) He even entertained Adam’s request of placing the sample wine glasses and a bottle of the Rhone in front of me so that he could take a picture of my wine tasting for his blog.

view from a bridge over the River Spree

Pleased that we had won him over I happily studied the bottle, then uttered one of the most uneducated statements I’ve ever made:
“Wow, it’s all in German! I had no idea that winemakers change the label to match the language of wherever the wine is shipped to!”
There was nothing silent about Adam’s laughter this time. My eyes widened in horror as I replayed the sentence in my head.
Luckily the server was not near enough to hear this — I’m not sure jetlag and blistered feet would have been reasonable enough excuse for him this time.

6 Responses on “A cold, blistery first day!

  1. I’m surprised the waiter didn’t immediately regret looking down his nose at you for your “cab” comment…I bet he probably thought you were Vietnamese too ;)

  2. Loved reading your blog, Soo, it was nice to get a different perspective, especially your comments on ‘dark stares’ and Adam as a whole…I want that groovy elongated tricycle taxi to peddle around downtown Atlanta!

  3. Loved reading it! Yes the wine labels and most signage too in Europe are in their mother tounge. Just wait till you make a trip to France to experience “snooty” the word takes a whole different meaning.

  4. Soo you are a natural. I felt like I was walking along with you guys. I truly know that I would have enjoyed the entire exchange between you and the server. Please keep the great blog going you are such an excellent and entertaining writer. I can’t wait to read about your next adventure.

    Enjoy your time in Europe,


  5. Great blog, Soo! And no worries about the wine slang. As long as you didn’t spill it, you’re golden. :) Look forward to hearing more of your international escapades.

  6. Thank you for all the wonderful and encouraging comments and “likes!” I really appreciate it. :)

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